Bulacan dam continues to discharge water

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FLOODING has affected these residents in Paliwas Street, Barangay Maysantol in Bulacan town, Bulacan province. Some children found it a good time to catch fish that were swept into the neighborhood. CARMELA REYES-ESTROPE/INQUIRER CENTRAL LUZON

CITY OF MALOLOS—Despite the sunny weather on Friday, operators of Bustos Dam in the province discharged water, part of a four-day operation meant to ease pressure on its reservoir before the monsoon rain pounds the area again.

Precioso Donato Punzalan, supervising operations assistant of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), which manages the dam, said the agency intends to bring down the water elevation to 16.80 meters.

The water level at the dam was recorded at 17.45 meters above sea level, inching closer to its critical spilling level of 17.70 masl. The NIA began releasing up to 192 cubic meters per second of water.

The NIA operation took place after the provincial government evaluated the conditions of its dams in a Friday meeting called by Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado.

Water elevation at Angat Dam, the largest Bulacan dam, was recorded at 203.53 masl on Friday, indicating that rain still fell over the Sierra Madre mountain range from where the rivers flowing into Angat emerge. Angat Dam’s spilling level is 210 masl.

Bustos Dam takes in all the discharges from the reservoirs of Angat and Ipo dams, so it needs to be freed of excess water if a new storm strikes the province, Alvarado said.

“One storm is able to raise the Angat Dam elevation by 10 meters and that will lead to flooding unless we release water now while the weather is good,” he said.

He said Bustos water discharged in a span of four days would not trigger flooding in downstream towns along Angat River.

Water released by the dams flow into 11 Bulacan towns that lie along Angat River.

Alvarado said the releases would also be timed so discharged water would not aggravate high tide.

He requested the National Water Resources Board and the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System to also open some of Angat Dam’s floodgates and ease pressure on its reservoir.

Punzalan said Bustos Dam’s six gates have started to wear out, which is why early water discharges are necessary to keep the rubber gears from being stressed by the weight. He said P1.7 billion has been allocated for the dam’s rehabilitation but the project is still being reviewed. Carmela Reyes-Estrope, Inquirer Central Luzon

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