Greenpeace to monitor Angat levels

Calls on the next president to commit to urgent water protection measures

Feature story - April 12, 2010
Greenpeace today set up a “Water Watch” camp in Angat Reservoir, Metro Manila’s main water source, to highlight the urgent threat to the country’s water resources. Greenpeace is calling on the public to take every measure to conserve water and demand that the presidential candidates prioritize the issue in their agenda.

Greenpeace set up a "Water Watch" camp in Angat Reservoir, Metro Manila’s main water source, to highlight the urgent threat to the country’s water resources. Greenpeace is calling on the public to take every measure necessary to conserve water and demand that the presidential candidates prioritize this issue in their agenda.

Angat dam, which supplies 97 percent of Manila, is in peril due to an ongoing drought.  Recent reports predict that the reservoir's water level may fall to a record 176 meters, the lowest since 2004. The Greenpeace camp, which will operate for one week, will conduct research and documentation within the dam as part of a project to spur action from politicians, particularly those aspiring for the presidency, as well as from water consumers.

"Our freshwater resources are dwindling. In Angat Dam, the water is at shockingly low levels and its tributaries are drying up. If this current situation continues and recurs, the Philippines will be in the grip of severe water crisis that will negatively affect agriculture, health, and the economy -- with far reaching social consequences," said climatologist Dr. Leoncio Amadore, consultant on the recent Greenpeace Water Report and  for the current Water Watch project.

The camp, managed by the Greenpeace Water Patrol, together with the National Power-Angat Watershed Area Team (NPC-AWAT), will gather data on precipitation, evaporation rates, temperature and water levels at key points in the Angat basin. Geologist Dr. Carlos Primo David is also setting-up instruments for the camp to function as a base site for information gathering throughout the week. All the instruments in the camp will be powered by a solar photo-voltaic system. In its second week, the camp will travel to nearby provinces to document the effects of the water shortage on key areas.

"Greenpeace believes that we need to fundamentally improve the way we manage our water resources. We are therefore challenging presidential candidates to place water issues as a priority agenda should they be elected to office," said Mark Dia, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Deputy Campaign Director. "To begin with, we are calling on the candidates to commit to implementing water protection measures, and climate hazard mapping during their first 100 days in office."

The public, however, has to be involved. To highlight the need for participation, the project will run an online platform, with the “Saan galing ang tubig mo” website as a means to involve all water consumers in conserving this precious resource.

"If the public has more knowledge of where their water actually comes from and the factors affecting it, there would be better appreciation for water conservation and protection of resources," said Dennis Gana, Corporate Communication Manager of National Power.

The rapid reduction of Angat reservoir's waters to critical levels come surprisingly after the overwhelming deluge brought on when typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng battered Luzon in September and October last year, a turnaround that starkly illustrates the country's vulnerability to the worst impacts of climate change.

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