Monitoring water levels of major dams

If you had gone through the trauma of the Ondoy flood, one will never want to live through it. They say the Ondoy flood was caused by the release of the water from the dams at a time when rainfall was just too much. Dam authorities explained why the dams could not have been the cause of the deluge. But many remained unconvinced.

@un_uomo_libero said that ” We should not allow a repeat of Ondoy. The flood was a function of incompetent government agencies and uninformed public.”

At the height of the Falcon rainfall on Friday night , I asked who was in charge of the update of the dam water levels. Media didn’t seem to be reporting of the water levels at this critical time. It was around 9:15 PM. Tweeps believed it was Pag-asa. So I asked @dost_pagasa who checks the water levels. They soon replied but instead of giving updates they told me “check our website http://t.co/HHmHjeN for dam updates”.

This didn’t sit well for some tweeps. @iam_urz demanded “@dost_pagasa so what is this twitter account of yours for??” @bicolanodevil asked “is that correct? real time flood bulletin in your website is as of 9:00 AM June 24, 2011? as in 9:00 am real time?” @nixcnix also noticed the delayed updates , ” ano ba yang dam status report nila. as of 4 PM.”

I found it disappointing that Pag-Asa didn’t want to bother with the dam updates and instead told me to browse the website. I felt it was critical to monitor the water levels at the height of strong rainfall. I enjoined media to report the water level of the dams as public service measure. I found it critical that media require Pag-Asa to give out updates if I couldn’t convince them to give real time updates.

@iam_urz insisted that “and you don’t need a budget just to twit dam updates. do you? ”

Around 2 hours later, @dost_pagasa tweeted ” Please follow @PAGASAFFWS (Official Twitter Account of PAGASA-Flood Forecasting and Warning Section) for Dam level update.”

That was certainly good news and thanked them for creating this account. It is important for the public to be aware of these water levels, the upstream levels and the volume released.

We should never forget to get these water levels aside from the weather forecast or level of flood waters. We never want another Ondoy to strike us again. The dam operators should never be caught “sleeping” during heavy rainfall.

Never again. Let’s keep reminding our government agencies to do their job.

Here is the twitter discussion on how the dam updates were shown to the public.

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BlogWatch receives the “Best Story” Award for the First Data Journalism PH 2015 from the Open Knowledge Foundation and Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism  for their story on “Aid Monitoring: Citizens’ Initial Efforts in the Wake of Typhoon Yolanda” . Forbes Philippines also received the same award.

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