Drought and Urbanization: The Case of the Philippines

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The Philippines is highly vulnerable to drought, resulting in severe impacts on crop productivity, water availability, and food security. This chapter explores water security in the country by examining the effects of drought on risk governance and its social impacts on the 1997–1998 and 2015–2016 El Niño episodes in Metro Manila, Iloilo City, and Cebu City. During these periods, widespread dryness occurred in both urban and rural areas, as rainfall was reduced by more than 50%. This decrease in rainfall affects most especially the urban poor as they experience acutely the dwindling supply of potable water, increasing costs of water, and compromised access to hygiene and sanitation services. Consequently, droughts have become a major concern for risk governance in major urban centers. Science-informed and contextually driven local climate adaptation plans (LCAP) seem to be the most appropriate response to mitigate and adapt to the effects of drought brought about by El Niño.