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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Water, power companies respond to El Niño fallout

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Water and power companies started implementing their contingency plans to ensure water security in response to the supply shortage caused by El Niño.

In a recent virtual briefing convened by the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) for its private sector partners, experts from the water and power sectors shared their plans and strategies for addressing these challenges and what to expect in their service amid El Niño and the onset of La Niña.

Manila Water Co. Inc.’s initiatives include strict enforcement of allocation protocols, deployment of mobile treatment plants and continuous monitoring of dam levels.

Maynilad Water Services Inc, meanwhile, stressed innovation with a new treatment plant in Parañaque, while Aboitiz Infra Capital leverages technology with its Smart Water Network to optimize operations and conserve resources.

In preparation for the more severe impact of El Niño outside Manila, Manila Water Ventures Philippines activated its business continuity plans and is exploring other water sources to ensure the sustainability of water supply and optimize its network operations.

Intense hot weather also affects the power supply. National Grid Corporation of the Philippines In April issued red and yellow alerts, indicating insufficient power supply to meet the demand, resulting in rotating brownouts. The unavailability of many power plants is worsening the situation.

Under the Department of Energy (DOE) guidance, the energy sector is also taking proactive measures to address the El Niño impact, especiallyin energy security, one of the key concerns of Task Force El Niño.

With a focus on securing energy facilities and minimizing economic losses due to power outages, the The DOE called for collaborative efforts between the public and private sectors. It recommended energy efficiency and conservation measures, participation in the interruptible load program, use of on-site renewable energy and installation of backup power sources, and education of employees on energy-saving behaviors.

The DOE continues to provide relevant energy data to the ENSO online platform—a centralized data repository for El Niño and La Niña, which is being run by Task Force El Niño.

PDRF also launched a similar platform last year—the El Niño Dashboard of Private Sector Initiatives, which summarizes all the private sector efforts in addressing El Niño challenges. It features reports from government agencies such as the Department of Science and Technology Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (DOST PAGASA), Department of Agriculture (DA), National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, and Department of Social Welfare and Development, as well as data on effects and damages to plan how the private sector can help affected communities and businesses.

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