Officials allay fears of water shortage

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Sunday, May 18, 2014


CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija -- The National Irrigation Administration- Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation Systems (NIA-UPRIIS) has cut off water supply to some 100,000 hectares of agricultural lands in Central Luzon irrigated by the giant Pantabangan dam, but officials allayed fears of shortage.

As of Saturday, the water level of Pantabangan dam was 182.10 meters above sea level (masl), over 11 meters away from its critical level of 171.5 masl for irrigation and five meters above for 177 masl critical level for power generation purposes.

Engineer Josephine Salazar, operations manager of NIA-UPRIIS that operates the facility’s irrigation component, said they have stopped releasing water since the start of the cropping season is next month.

“Still no releases from Pantabangan dam because the start of the water delivery for wet cropping season is June 1,” she said.

Salazar said she would request for the cloud seeding but only on “stand by in case there will be no rains in June.”

The Bureau of Soil and Water Management conducted Friday cloud seeding operation over the watershed of Angat Dam.

Salazar downplayed concerns over the appearance of the church in the old Pantabangan township, saying at an elevation of 181 meters, it is a normal occurrence for the structure to resurface.

The water level at the dam remains high even amid the scorching heat.

Last April 29, water level at the dam was at 181.44 meters, lower compared to the 187.05 meters they recorded over the same period last year.

She said that for this year, they have programmed for irrigation 114,026 hectares, up by 2,772 hectares from last ear’s 111, 254 hectares.

UPRIIS is the country’s largest national irrigation systems administratively supervised by NIA. It operates the World Bank-funded Pantabangan dam, which irrigates farmlands in Nueva Ecija, San Miguel and San Ildefonso in Bulacan and Arayat in Pampanga. (PNA)

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