KALIBO, Aklan -- The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) has announced that it will open the newly built run-off irrigation dam in Barangay Sigcay, Banga, Aklan on June 1.
Engineer Lorena Sioco, division manager of NIA for Aklan and Capiz, said the irrigation dam has a budget of P650 million. It stretches at least seven towns, affecting some 5,000 farmers.
In October 2018, the irrigation was closed to farmers to give way to the construction of the dam. Because of this, the Aklan Provincial Government had to declare a state of calamity to aid farmers affected by the closure.
During the closure, farmers were discouraged to plant rice due to unavailability of water at the Aklan River. The situation worsened with the impact of the ongoing El Niño phenomenon that hit the entire country.
“On June 1, there will be no ceremony to be held. We will just open the dam early morning so that farmers could immediately enjoy it. We will close the said farm for some time during the year to give way to repair,” she said.
The depth of the dam would also be maintained at 1.5 meters.
Last May 15, the NIA conducted a test run of the operation of the dam to determine glitches. It was learned that it would take a day for the water to reach all the seven towns in the province.
The towns include Kalibo, Banga, New Washington, Numancia, Lezo, Makato and Malinao.
Re-elected Provincial Board Member Soviet dela Cruz, who chairs the committee of agriculture in the Provincial Board, said he will file several ordinances for the protection of the dam.
Among the ordinances he is looking into are anti-littering and prohibiting residents from passing through the dam for their safety.
“We in the province welcome this development as it would help for our food security and to also feed our tourists,” Dela Cruz said.
Many farmers in the province delivered their supply to Boracay Island for the consumption of both foreign and local tourists. (SunStar Philippines)