MMDA acting chair Don Artes (File photo)

MANILA – Local governments in Metro Manila are setting up contingency measures in preparation for the El Niño phenomenon and the possibility of a water crisis with the help of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Metro Manila Disaster Risk Response and Management Council (MMDRRMC).

In a press conference Friday, MMDA acting chair and concurrent MMDRRMC head Don Artes said all 17 local government units (LGU) in the National Capital Region (NCR) have each formed their own task force that would formulate contingency measures.

Each task force, Artes said, would submit their proposed plans to the Metro Manila Council (MMC) and would be discussed during a meeting to be held before the end of May.

“Recommendations will be consolidated and coordinated with the concerned government agencies for possible implementation and replication of efforts in other regions,” he said.

The MMDA is coordinating with the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) to monitor the water supply and regulate water use in the NCR.

“We are also coordinating with the MWSS on how to recycle the treated wastewater from various sewerage treatment plants,” he said.

The MMDA is also eyeing the procurement of a device that can collect water from the air and filter it to produce potable water.

Earlier, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said there is a 90 percent chance that the El Niño phenomenon would last until the first quarter of 2024.

It added that there is a 53 percent chance that El Niño would reach “a strong level” during the latter part of 2023.

El Niño is the abnormal warming of sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean.

The MMDA is also conducting water search and rescue training for responders and rescuers from different LGUs and monitoring the water level in NCR’s waterways.

“All of the 71 pumping stations are 100 percent operational and continuous declogging operations are conducted to mitigate flooding in the metropolis,” he said.

It also recently procured four boats to be used in rescue operations. (PNA)