CAUAYAN CITY—The government has started cloud seeding operations over the watershed serving Magat Dam, hoping to mitigate the impact of the El Niño phenomenon this year, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) said this week.
Isabela received fewer rains toward the end of 2012, the agency said. Cloud seeding was started on Dec. 20 when the dam elevation was 184.27 meters above sea level (masl).
The seeding, which was financed by SN Aboitiz Power Co., ended on Jan. 15, and the NIA reported improved rains which increased runoff water inflow at the dam from 55.84 cubic meters per second (cms) on Dec. 20 to 105.94 cms this week.
On Saturday, Magat Dam recorded levels at 180.97 masl. Saturnino Tenedor, dam instrumentation chief, said the dip in reservoir level was below normal but should not cause alarm for the moment.
Magat Dam, which harnesses the Magat River, serves as a hydroelectric power plant and as the source of irrigation for 85,000 hectares of farmlands.
But Magat River Integrated Irrigation System (Mariis) cautioned farmers to continue conserving water.
“We ask farmers to close the turnouts when water in the rice fields is already sufficient. This is a simple act but this will help us use water efficiently, especially now that we are experiencing El Niño,” Mariano Dancel, Mariis operations manager, said in a Jan. 17 statement.
Dancel said more cloud seeding operations were being planned while rain clouds were still evident in the horizon. Villamor Visaya Jr., Inquirer Northern Luzon