Sunday, July 25, 2010

Water and energy in the Philippines

Jorge Osit in the Manila Bulletin (Philippines): It looks like the twin problems of water and energy supply will get worse before they get any better. This is clearly illustrated by the advent of the rainy season with its concomitant flooding in many areas, and yet, the water level at the Angat dam in nearby Bulacan continues to dip and has already breached its historic low.

Ironically, there is rain falling everywhere but not much for the rain-starved Angat dam. As a direct consequence, government officials have now grudgingly acknowledged a worsening water shortage affecting Metro Manila and its environs.

The looming water crisis, to a certain extent, can be viewed against the backdrop of climate change, but essentially at its core, it is a question of management. Specifically, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson put the blame for the shortage on National Power Corp. (Napocor) administrators who ordered last December the release of the three months’ water supply, thereby causing a sharp fall in water level from 210 meters down to 157 meters.

If, indeed, that is the case, then it can be said that the historic lowest water level at Angat dam was all man-made. Climate change impact could have played a bit role but, quite clearly, it was aggravated by mismanagement and poor judgment call.

In the case of recent typhoon Basyang, driven by gusty winds that brought down transmission lines, it caused widespread power outages that plunged Metro Manila into darkness for days, aside from leaving a wide swath of property damage and loss of lives in its wake….

Typhoon Conson (Basyang), before it made landfall in the Philippines earlier this month

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