Water rationing starts in Bukidnon as wells, faucets dry up due to El Niño

Uriel Quilinguing

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Water rationing starts in Bukidnon as wells, faucets dry up due to El Niño

LINING UP. Villagers line up for water brought by firemen in Sitio Laruk in Barangay Kisolon, Sumilao in Bukidnon, on January 13, 2024.

BFP-MFS Kisolon

Residents with empty water containers start queuing up along a road, waiting for firetrucks loaded with water in several Bukidnon towns

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Dry conditions due to the absence or reduced rainfall over the past three weeks that had dried up water sources compelled at least five towns of Bukidnon to seek the help of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) for water rationing.

Last week, residents with empty water containers started queuing up along the road, waiting for firetrucks from BFP’s municipal stations loaded with about a thousand liters of water. 

Deep wells and communal faucets had dried up.

“Dry conditions and lack of rainfall are impacts of El Niño,” said Senior Weather Specialist Anianita Fortich of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration’s (PAGASA) Mindanao office based in El Salvador City, Misamis Oriental, on Monday, January 15.

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In Libona town, Bukidnon, families in Barangay Crossing and Barangay Santa Fe had no other option but to source and pay for water from a municipal system that draws its supply from the Sigmatan River about 20 kilometers away. They used to fetch water from a deep well for free for years, Now, the well has dried up.

Many people have been using the daily water rations provided by the Libona Municipal Fire Station, starting on January 8.

Public school teacher Myrna Inguito Clemen said the last heavy rain they had was brought by Tropical Storm Kabayan (Jelawat) in December, about a month ago. Since then, there has been a shortage of water supply, prompting every household to collect and store water from different sources.

On Saturday, January 13, residents of Sitio Laruk, Barangay Kisolon in Sumilao town queued for water brought by a fire truck from the local fire station.

The towns of Baungon, Manolo Fortich, and Kalilangan have been enduring water supply scarcity, too. 

BFP personnel delivered water at the Imbatug Public Market in Baungon town last December 29, upon the request of residents and vendors. 

Water was also supplied to the municipal slaughterhouses of Kalilangan and Manolo Fortich towns on December 31.

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In a recent forum, Ana Liza Solis, PAGASA assistant chief for weather services, presented a six-month weather forecast for conditions vis a vis the El Niño phenomenon. The presentation showed that Bukidnon, by the end of January 2023, would be under a dry spell together with Misamis Oriental, Cagayan de Oro, and Basilan.

Under such a weather condition, rainfall would drop by 21% to 60% within a three-month period.

Twelve other provinces in Mindanao have been experiencing dry conditions since last week. The provinces are the following:

  • Camiguin
  • Misamis Occidental
  • Lanao del Norte
  • Lanao del Sur
  • Zamboanga del Norte
  • Zamboanga del Sur
  • Zamboanga Sibugay
  • Dinagat Islands
  • Surigao del Norte
  • Davao del Norte
  • Sulu
  • Tawi-Tawi

“More areas will experience less rainfall in succeeding months,” Fortich said, even with a shear line weather condition over several areas in Mindanao since January 11. 

The shear line has been bringing in strong winds measured at five meters per second from the usual two mps wind speed, aside from light to moderate rain. – Rappler.com

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