EXPECT less rainfall – or none at all – and scorching heat this first quarter of 2019. It would be because of the El Niño phenomenon, according to the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.
We can surpass another dry season if we consolidate all efforts and do our share. The biggest challenge is in the agriculture sector. Less rainfall means less water supply for irrigation. This situation could displace agricultural workers.
In mitigation plans either of national government agencies or local government units, livelihood assistance must be included. Workers in the agriculture sector actually suffer a double whammy. They not only lose their livelihood and income, they also suffer as consumers.
Our agriculture workers particularly in the rural areas are vulnerable and this is why the sector always had the highest poverty and underemployment incidence. They must be taught strategies to mitigate the impacts of a drought such as modified cropping calendar and pattern; planting of short gestating rice varieties; maximizing the utilization of effective rainfall; provision of water pumps; strict implementation of proper water management and water savings technology; reduction of water loss through canal lining and irrigation canals maintenance; and water recycling.
Let us observe simple, practical measures to efficiently use our water resource like gathering and storing rainwater for daily chores, using water dipper instead of shower when bathing, turning off faucets properly, and immediately repairing leaking pipes and running toilets, among others.
More importantly, with the changing environment due to climate change we have to be always prepared for future dry spells by implementing permanent mitigation measures such as establishment of rain harvesting and small water impounding facilities. This will contribute in securing the water requirements of our communities, particularly the farmers which are vital in our food security programs.
We cannot stop a dry spell. The most that we can do is prepare for its adverse effects.