Press Release
July 22, 2010

Loren to NAPOCOR: Where Are the Updated Dam Protocols?

Sen. Loren Legarda, Chairperson of the Senate Standing and Oversight Committee on Climate Change today said the National Power Corporation must submit their updated protocols of water releases.

"During the climate change hearings after the onslaught of Ondoy and Pepeng, there was an admission by the dam operators that the present protocols, that are mainly based on historical experience, have not been updated for years. So where are the new protocols?" Legarda asks.

Legarda revealed that, "Officials of NAPOCOR had testified that dam waters were released based on antiquated protocols, flooding several provinces in Luzon including Metro Manila."

Legarda's Senate Climate Change Committee had set November 30 last year as the deadline for the submission of the protocols. NAPOCOR had requested for a three (3) month extension saying they needed more dialogues with the stakeholders.

"NAPOCOR's Flood Forecasting and Warning System for Dam Operations (FFWSDO) dictate the volume of water to be released by Angat, San Roque, Ambuklao, Binga, and Caliraya dams."

"I have long asked the NAPOCOR to revise and update their protocols which should ensure that extreme weather events brought by climate change are taken into consideration."

"I reiterate the significance of these protocols relative to the existing water crisis."

" The El Niño and the abrupt water releases of last year have plunged the water levels of our vital dams. Even without the warnings of a drought this year, there are allegations alluding that NAPOCOR released more water than what was necessary after Ondoy and Pepeng. This only proves how faulty the old protocols were. "

Legarda also emphasized, "It is important to make our hydropower systems climate-resilient."

"We have to reassess how to improve the management and operations of our dams."

"There must also be a collaboration between the dam operators and the weather forecasters so that effective early warning systems may be put in place especially for those communities at risk."

"We can no longer afford to be too complacent. History tells us as much," Legarda concluded.

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