By Raymond Carl Dela Cruz

RAINWATER CATCHMENT SYSTEM. Metropolitan Manila Development Authority acting chair Don Artes presents a design for a rainwater catchment system during a press conference at the MMDA headquarters in Pasig City on Monday (March 4, 2024). Artes said several catchment designs made by the MMDA would be distributed among the 17 local government units in the National Capital Region as part of the government’s water mitigation efforts in preparation for El Niño. (Photo courtesy of MMDA)

MANILA – The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Monday called on local government units (LGU) to mitigate the effects of El Niño through water-saving efforts.

In a statement, MMDA acting chair Don Artes said basic designs for rainwater catchment systems would be distributed to LGUs in the National Capital Region (NCR) to help alleviate the effects of El Niño, which is likely to persist until May.

To date, he said two MMDA-designed catchment systems have been installed in Pasay City linear park Tripa de Gallina in October last year — one installed near a public toilet and another in a pocket garden.

The Metro Manila Council (MMC), led by the MMDA and the 17 NCR mayors, also laid down several water-saving measures in an approved resolution.

These include rainwater harvesting/establishment of catchment areas, reduction in water use in the maintenance of golf courses and car washing, recycling of wastewater or gray water for watering plants and car washing, fixing leaks in water pipes, and developing water filtration systems.

Artes reassured that there would be no water rationing and water interruptions in March, citing the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, as there is sufficient water allotted to water concessionaires.

However, he said having enough water supply does not mean wasting water resources.

“We need to continuously and consistently save water so that in the coming months, during summer, we will still have a steady supply of it,” he said.

The Metro Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council is scheduled to meet with City Disaster Risk Reduction Management officers in NCR to discuss further specific El Niño mitigation measures for each city.

On Jan. 19, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. signed Executive Order No. 53 to streamline, reactivate, and reconstitute the old El Niño task forces under EO No. 16 (s. 2001) and Memorandum Order No. 38 (s. 2019).

Under EO No. 53, the President instructed the task force to develop a comprehensive disaster preparedness and rehabilitation plan for El Niño and La Niña to provide “systematic, holistic, and results-driven interventions” to help the public cope and minimize their devastating effects. (PNA)