(PNA file photo) 

MANILA – Magat Dam's water is decreasing due to below-normal rainfall in its northern Luzon facility but may still increase and further support the dry cropping season activities this year.

Northern Luzon is experiencing below-normal rainfall although the prevailing northeast monsoon or "amihan" and other weather systems may bring rain that can increase Magat's water, said Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) hydrologist Richard Orendain.

Such increase will help the dam better irrigate its service areas in northern Luzon to further support dry season cropping activities there, he noted.

"That dam easily reacts to rainfall so it's unlikely for water there to run short soon," he said.

He said Magat Dam can fill up without difficulty when it receives rainwater from its big watershed.

PAGASA said Magat Dam's 6 a.m. water level on Tuesday was at 183.90 meters or 9.10 meters below its spilling or normal high water level.

National Irrigation Administration-Magat River Integrated Irrigation System's Dam and Reservoir Division acting manager Carlo Ablan, however, said it is still possible for Magat Dam to continue supporting ongoing cropping activities of its customers as various weather systems may bring rain that can increase its water and prevent this from dipping to the critical level.

"According to PAGASA, (the) La Niña phenomenon may prevail until around the first quarter of 2022," he said.

PAGASA said La Niña is the cool phase of El Niño Southern Oscillation, a naturally occurring phenomenon of the climate system.

Monsoon activity and winds from the east are stronger during La Niña, PAGASA noted.

Development of more tropical cyclones and occurrence of above-normal rainfall due to increased cloud formation are among La Niña's effects on Philippine climate, it added. (PNA)