THE National Water Resources Board (NWRB) issued an advisory to “conserve water whenever” after lower-than-usual levels at Angat Dam in Bulacan, the main source of water for Metro Manila.

On Dec. 31, water elevation at the dam was 202.80 meters, significantly below the 212 meters considered normal for the time of year.

While rainfall from typhoons can recharge dams, water levels rose only slightly with the northeast monsoon, which caused the dam to fall short of the ideal year-end elevation, the NWRB said in a statement.

Kailangan natin mabigyan ng kasiguruhan ang tubig natin, partikular po na itong panahon ng tag-init, kagaya ng summer, na wala masyadong tag-ulan (We need to ensure the availability of water, particularly with the incoming dry season when we can expect little to no rain),” NWRB Executive Director Sevillo D. David said in a separate radio-TV interview.

“PAGASA forecast that the ‘La Niña’ phenomenon, which started in October, will persist until March,” the NWRB said in a statement. “Rainfall could be enhanced by the northeast monsoon… which could provide more precipitation. This may bring rainfall to the Angat watershed.”

According to projections by the NWRB, if water usage and weather conditions continue on trend, water levels at the dam may hit the critical level of 180 meters as soon as April.

Mas maganda po na paghandaan natin ito, at maganda na ngayon pa lang magtipid na tayo ng tubig (It would be best if we prepare ahead by saving water),” Mr.  David said. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson