Cloud seeding operations set this week : NDRRMC
The government released a total of P18.3 million for this weekend's cloud seeding operations as part of its effort to mitigate the effect of El Niño.
“A total amount of P18.3 million has been released to Department of Agriculture regional offices for cloud seeding operations in partnership with the Philippine Air Force,” said National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) executive director and undersecretary Ricardo Jalad Thursday.
“After conducting joint area assessments, the cloud seeding operation is being recommended for Regions 2 (Cagayan Valley) and 12 (Soccsksargen) to be scheduled between March 14 to May 21, 2019,” he added.
Major Aristides Galang, Philippine Air Force (PAF) spokesman, said the schedule of the start of the cloud seeding operation was moved to this weekend.
“The output of the meeting, as per info, the initial cloud seeding will be conducted supposedly tomorrow. (It was) however moved Saturday or Sunday because we are still preparing the aircraft. Preparation of the aircraft Nomad. We (are) also preparing...the equipment that we will use. So most probably, the tentative schedule is on Saturday or Sunday,” he said.
Galang said the cloud seeding operation will be conducted in Cauayan, Isabela while other areas will be determined by the Department of Agriculture.
He said the Nomad aircraft will be coming from Mindanao.
“It will be coming from Zamboanga to Mactan. So let say it's in Mactan, those that will be needed (for the operation) will be attached to Nomad and then by Saturday tentative or Sunday it will (be) in Cauayan, Isabela. Here (in Metro Manila) I do not yet have information (for cloud seeding),” Galang said.
“We cannot say (how often the cloud seeding will be conducted). It also depends on the aircraft,” he added.
Jalad said the NDRRMC conducted a second meeting on Wednesday to discuss the actions by the government to address the effect of El Nino.
“We want to assure the public that the government is doing everything to ensure adequate water supply for all,” he said.
Jalad said the discussion includes looming water supply shortage in Metro Manila and in nearby areas.
“According to the DENR-NWRD ( Department of Environment-National Water Resources Board), Angat Dam, the main source of water in Metro Manila, is still within its normal operating level at 199.94 meters elevation compared to its minimum operating level at 180 meters. This entails that Angat Dam can sufficiently address Metro Manila’s water requirements,” said Jalad.
“The declining ( level) of La Mesa Dam, according to MWSS ( Metropolitan Water Sewage Systems), is caused by increase in water treatment production of Manila Water,” he added.
Jalad said the DILG ( Department of Interior and Local Government) will also issue a memorandum circular to all local government units urging them to enact ordinances curbing illegal connections and encouraging prudent use of water.
“Said ordinance shall also allow water concessionaires and water utilities to conduct emergency repair of leaks. Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) was directed to allow the free use of fire trucks for water distribution,” he said.
Jalad said based on a report of the Department of Agriculture, estimated damage as of March 8 due to El Nino, has reached P464.3 million.
“Total area affected has reached 13,679 hectares affecting 16,034 farmers in the following regions: Zamboanga, Northern Mindanao, Davao, Soccsksargen, Mimaropa, and Barmm,” he said.
“The Department of Agriculture conducted field validation to assess damages and losses and continues to monitor standing crops in areas at risk,” Jalad added. Robina Asido/DMS