Smaller dam to irrigate Bulacan, Pampanga crop fields –NIA
MANILA, Philippines – The rice fields in Bulacan and Pampanga that are most in need of water won’t suffer from the low levels of the Angat Dam.
According to the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), a smaller dam will be able to supply enough water to irrigate the remaining rice fields still not ready for harvesting.
Angat Dam, which provides irrigation water for 22,000 hectares of agricultural production areas, fell below the critical level of 180 meters to 179.8 meters on Sunday, May 11, prompting the National Power Corporation (Napocor) to cut irrigation supply at 2 pm the next day.
The Bustos Dam, which gets its water from the Bayabas River, will be enough to fulfill the irrigation needs of the rice fields that still need water. Most of the palay cultivation areas are already being harvested. Only around 1,000 rice fields in the reproductive stage need irrigation.
Bustos Dam, also in Bulacan, can supply 17 million cubic meters of water for these areas.
The next planting season for palay starts mid-June. By this time, the Angat Dam will have returned to normal levels because of the return of the rainy season.
But with the El Nino phenomenon expected this June, the drought could extend to the next palay cropping season. If so, only half of the farmlands serviced by the Angat Dam – around 11,000 hectares – will be provided irrigation, said NIA Administrator Claro Maranan .
“But we still expect rains throughput the year so I don’t think the effect on irrigation would be severe,” he added.
The Angat Dam supplies around 90% of Metro Manila’s water needs. The reservoir can supply the needs of the megacity even at a water level of 170 meters.
The Pantabangan Dam in Nueva Ecija and the Magat Dam in Ifugao and Isabela provinces are operating normally. – Rappler.com