Benguet readies for El Niño

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Thursday, May 22, 2014


LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Governor Nestor Fongwan said irrigation in the province must be set to place in preparation for the anticipated dry spell.

The governor has tapped the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist to look into the impact of the El Niño phenomenon to the province.

"We must do something on our irrigation systems here," Fongwan said.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) earlier reported an El Niño phenomenon may start affecting the Philippines in June and peak by the end of the year.

Fongwan is asking OPAG to cushion the effect of the expected dry spell and formulate means to save highland crops from expected damage.

"We are lucky that we are experiencing rainfall in the afternoon here, preventing our dams from reaching critical levels," he added.

Dam level in Ambuklao is at 740.37 meters above sea level (masl) from its normal high water of 752 masl and near its minimum level of 740masl.

For Binga dam, water level is at 570.71 masl from its normal high water level of 575masl and 4meters above its minimum level of 566masl.

Days ago, reports from the Department of Agriculture showed 77 percent of potential corn harvest areas or 6,033 hectares in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) have already been affected while 35 percent or 22,072 hectares are currently affected in Region 2 (Cagayan Valley).

El Niño is the phenomenon known to bring dry weather and drought for a long period. The most recent El Niño events in the country occurred between June 2009 and May 2010.

In 2010, the province had 2.8 milliliters of rain for March and zero rainfall in April.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 23, 2014.

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