THE prevailing El Niño and the lack of rainfall pushed the water level at the vital Angat Dam to its critical level, forcing the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) to reduce allocations for farm irrigation starting Wednesday, May 1.
The irrigation supply to 17 towns in Bulacan and four towns in Pampanga will be reduced to 20 cubic meters per second, as water elevation at the dam dropped to 179.83 meters above sea level breaching its critical low level of 180 meters above sea level (masl). The dam’s normal water level is 212 meters, while its critical level for drinking water is 160 meters.
But authorities are confident that the reduction in allocation for irrigation could still meet the needs of farmers as the current cropping season for palay is at its end point.
Angat Dam supplies 90 percent of the domestic water supply of Metro Manila. It also supplies irrigation to 20,000 hectares of farmland in Bulacan while 2,000 hectares of Pampanga’s farmlands in Candaba and border lands of San Luis and Santa Ana also get their water supply from the dam.
Metro Manila’s 90 percent of water consumption daily is sourced from Angat Dam. The Department of Agriculture said that the domestic purpose of Angat Dam’s water would surely compete with the dam’s water if it does not reach full capacity.
Angat Dam reached its lowest level at 157.76 meters in July 2010, an El Niño year, which prompted authorities to temporarily stop operations. Located in Barangay San Lorenzo (Hilltop) in Norzagaray, Bulacan, the dam also powers the Angat hydroelectric power plant.
The 131-meter-high dam impounds water from the Angat River that forms the greater Angat Lake.