We're just coming around to the summer of 2016 but the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is already months ahead in preparing for the rainy season and the flooding problem that comes along with it.

The agency recently inaugurated the upgraded Effective Flood Control Operating System (EFCOS) done through the collaborative efforts of the national government and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Designed in 1985 and established in 1993, aims to achieve an effective flood control operation for the Pasig-Marikina-Laguna Lake Complex through real-time rainfall and water-level data collection via telemetry system, warning system, and multiplex communication system in Metro Manila. With the help of the JICA, the MMDA has received much-needed updates to the EFCOS to augment the equipment being used at the Rosario Pumping Station in Barangay Manggahan, Pasig City and by other related agencies.

The cost to complete Phase 3 of EFCOS is Php 32 million, the Philippine government shouldered half with the Japanese government paying for the other Php 16 million.

EFCOS is a highly advanced telemetry system that will allow MMDA and other pertinent agencies to monitor the amount of rainfall in order to determine whether or not flooding will be imminent, come up with and early warning report and disseminate information efficiently.

This new equipment will be highly beneficial as numerous road projects underway may be greatly affected by the rainy season and could cause flooding in various parts of the metropolis, especially in the province of Rizal.

"The EFCOS Project will greatly complement our continuous efforts to minimize flooding in flood-prone areas the Pasig-Marikina-Laguna Lake complex thus saving thousands of lives during this natural calamity," said MMDA Chairman Emerson Carlos.

This collaboration between the MMDA and JICA is part of the October 2014 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the two agencies to improve EFCOS. JICA has already shouldered Php 74.7 million of the total cost.

As a result, the country has 18 observation stations sending data to 4 EFCOS units stationed at Department of Public Works and Highways Central Office, PAGASA, Napindan, and Rosario; nine flood warning posts along Manggahan Floodway that are essential to the operation of the Rosario Weir Floodgates and the Napindan Hydraulics Control Structure.

EFCOS Phase 1 was completed in 1993, Phase 2 in 2001 and Phase 3 just last Monday.

A newly proposed Phase 4 will allow EFCOS to scan an 80-kilometer radius, detect wide area rainfall, predict cumulative rainfall and expected volume water in-flow with the use of an X-Band polarimetric radar with solid state technology. This will further strengthen MMDA's flood detection and warning capability pending JICA's approval.