Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje instructed today the National Water Resources Board (NWRB), an attached agency of the DENR, to come up with a new protocol on dam management in the face of changing patterns of natural phenomena.

“I strongly agree with the position that we review our protocol on dam management. Climate change has caused every imaginable changes in our environment, from sea level rise to change in the weather pattern, frequency and strength of typhoons, flood course and high precipitation, which now constitute the ‘new normal’,” Paje said.

Paje said that the recent massive flooding that the country has experienced all point to the need to address not only the issue of coordination among concerned government agencies but also the decision-making process.

“The new dam management protocol should fill up all loopholes in coordination as well as in implementing emergency measures to avoid situation such as what happened in Bulacan,” Paje stressed.

NWRB Deputy Executive Director Nathaniel C. Santos explained that the technical working group (TWG) on Angat Dam operations is currently implementing the 2010 version of the dam’s protocol, originally formulated in 1998.

The protocol calls for NWRB to take charge of allocating water supply to the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) for the irrigation of farmlands in Bulacan and Pampanga, and the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) for domestic supply of Metro Manila, that is, if the dam’s water level is 210 meters above sea level (masl) and below, Santos explained.

However, once the dam’s water level reaches above the 210-meter level, Santos stressed that the National Power Corp. (NPC), National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) implement another protocol.