6 Luzon dams release water, worsen floods



PREEMPTIVE RELEASE The San Roque Dam in San Manuel, Pangasinan, opens one gate to release water on Thursday to ease pressure on the facility from the expected heavy rains of the incoming Tropical Storm “Quiel.” Pangasinan towns located downstream are bracing for possible floods. The dam collects water released by the Binga and Ambuklao Dams in Benguet. WILLY LOMIBAO/CONTRIBUTOR

The sun has been shining intermittently since Typhoon “Pedring” exited the country on Wednesday, but much of the provinces of Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga and Pangasinan remain inundated.

On Thursday, most of the major dams in Luzon continued to release their contents in anticipation of Tropical Storm “Quiel.”

As the waters gushed, the governments of Pangasinan and Bulacan called on Malacañang to review flood-control protocols, blaming outdated rules and even the national government’s irrigation design for their provinces’ vulnerability to flooding.

Authorities on Thursday gave the go-signal for San Roque Dam in San Manuel, Pangasinan, to spill water, alarming residents downstream. San Roque is the sixth dam to be opened this week.

The gates of Angat, Ipo, Ambuklao, Binga and Magat Dams remained open Thursday because the waters were either close to breaching or had breached the spilling level, and holding the waters could burst the dams.

Besides, it is necessary to spill water from the six dams in view of the expected heavy rainfall from Quiel, which is forecast to make landfall in extreme northern Luzon on Sunday, according to weather bureau hydrologist Elmer Caringal.

“It’s more dangerous if we [open the gates] when the waters have reached critical level and when Quiel is about to make landfall,” he said.

Caringal said National Power Corp. (Napocor) and the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) were releasing water minimally from the dams in the face of residents’ complaints that the water releases were causing floods downstream.

He said he believed that the floods were caused by the heavy rain dumped by Pedring and the high tide.

‘All nervous’

Pangasinan residents braced themselves when Napocor began releasing water from San Roque Dam Thursday at noon. Water from this dam courses through the towns of San Manuel, San Nicolas, Tayug, Asingan, Sta. Maria, Villasis, Rosales, Alcala, Bayambang and Bautista.

Earlier at 9 a.m., San Roque’s water was recorded at 279.68 meters above sea level, almost breaching the dam’s spilling level of 280 masl.

On Wednesday night, Tommy Valdez, San Roque Power Corp. (SRPC) vice president for corporate social responsibility, informed media offices by text message that Napocor had directed the opening of one of the dam’s spillway gates at a half meter to release water at 79 cubic meters per second (cms).

Valdez said the gate opening was made in anticipation of more rains from the new storm.

“We were all nervous,” said Barangay (village) Captain Jesus Limos of Lipay. The vegetable-producing barangay lies along the Agno River in the town of Villasis.

It normally takes four hours for water released from San Roque to reach the town.

Villasis Councilor Roderick Mina said the residents’ fear was based on the trauma they experienced in 2009 when the sudden release of water from the dam caused a huge flood.

Former Pangasinan Representative Mark Cojuangco said San Roque should have released water by as much as 500 cms. He said that the volume of 79 cms was “too small” to ease pressure on the dam, and that 500 cms would not cause a flood.

Cojuangco said, however, that the dam operators were constrained from undertaking this suggestion because the pressure would crush the NIA weir (overflow dam) at the bottom of the spillways.

“My point is: Just because of irrigation, public safety is compromised. The [weir’s current design and location] is not right and they have to correct it,” he said.

Bill Connel, SRPC vice president for dam operations, said this was the fourth time that San Roque’s gate was opened since it started commercial operations 12 years ago.

In comparison, water was released 54 times from Binga Dam in Benguet in the same period.

All at same time

Since Tuesday, Binga and the recommissioned Ambuklao Dam, both located in Mountain Province and both flowing into San Roque Dam, have also been releasing water. Both are operated by SN Aboitiz Power.

Napocor opened the gates of Angat Dam in Marilao, Bulacan, at 8 a.m. Thursday to release water at 400 cms when the dam water elevation reached 214 masl. The dam’s spilling level is 210 masl.

Said Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado: “This is what I was afraid of. Bustos Dam, Ipo Dam and Angat Dam suddenly released water at the same time, which is why our communities are flooded, as well as the impact of typhoon rains. Had authorities opened their floodgates gradually and much earlier, we wouldn’t have floods.”

Ipo Dam, also in Bulacan, covers the towns of Norzagaray, Angat, San Rafael, Bustos, Baliuag, Pulilan and Plaridel.

Earlier, Alvarado asked the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) to allow Napocor to decide on the appropriate level for releasing dam water.

The NWRB has oversight over Angat because it also supplies Metro Manila’s potable water and irrigates parts of Central Luzon. The board prescribed that Angat release water as soon as the level reached 210 masl.

Napocor was allowed to release Angat water on Tuesday when the elevation reached 209.60 masl.

Rodolfo German, general manager of the Angat Hydro Electric Power Plant, said the NWRB had yet to act on Alvarado’s request.

All submerged

In Bulacan, most of the barangays in the towns of Norzagaray, Angat, San Rafael, San Miguel, Bustos, Baliuag, Plaridel, Calumpit, Hagonoy and Paombong are under water.

The local governments of Calumpit, Obando and Meycauayan have declared a state of calamity in their flooded towns.

Floodwaters have reached 3 meters (10 feet) in Barangay Sapang Bayan in Calumpit, according to reports that reached the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council yesterday.

The same reports said residents had been feasting on milkfish that had escaped fishponds in Calumpit and Hagonoy.

In Pampanga, the towns of San Luis, Arayat, Candaba, Apalit and Masantol are flooded because the swollen Pampanga River had breached its banks.

Residents of low-lying towns near the Pampanga River, such as Sta. Rosa, Jaen, Cabiao, San Isidro, Aliaga, Quezon, Zaragoza and Licab, said the floods were unprecedented.

Nueva Ecija, where all but one of Cabanatuan City’s 89 barangays is under water, has been put under a state of calamity by its provincial board.

Residents of San Antonio town said it was the first time in many years that their public market was inundated. With reports from Gabriel Cardinoza and Yolanda Sotelo, Inquirer Northern Luzon; and Carmela Reyes-Estrope, Anselmo Roque, Armand Galang, Greg Refraccion and Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon

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  • http://twitter.com/hustlergalore hustlergalore

    “holding the waters could burst the dams”
    – this is so lame. wasnt the pressure of water of a full dam part of the design? just asking

    • Anonymous

      Dams are designed to take pressure only at a certain level.  Apparently, that level has already been reached.  By the way, you were not “just asking”.  You were giving an opinion when you said that “this is so lame”.  Your opinion is stupid though.  Even if the dam can take the full pressure, wouldn’t it just overflow to the other side if water continues to fall?    

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IHSZXWUIACYJC7CX3TBCSCYRNQ joe


      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Z6U25GIY66GOY64DA3QY7OEB54 ricky

        @joe , eh tinuro na ba sa inyo ung safety engineering? mag isip-isip ka muna bago ka dumada dahil kulang ka pa sa experience brod…

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IHSZXWUIACYJC7CX3TBCSCYRNQ joe

        laki siguro kick back mo diyan ano?

      • Anonymous

        @ joe…Sir yung tinuro sa school yun ay ideal pro during construction hindi tlga naattain un due to some factors pero as much as possible dapat kaso wala namang perpektong construction na exact tlga…Kailangan tlga na edesign and dam more times sa kaya nya (Factor of Safety) pero it doesnt mean na pedi ilampas don (Safety). At para malimitahan ang amount ng water nagbubukas talaga ng spillway, saka yung dam natin medyo luma na hindi na pedi etodo ang capacity. Pasalamat na lang tayo hindi nasira ang Dam imagine ano mangyayari pagganun. Engineer naman ang ngwowork don hindi sila doctor o attorney na mamatay man ang pasyente o matalo ang kliyente hindi mawawala ang lisensya ..=) 

  • Anonymous

    ang sabay-sabay na pag-release ng tubig sa mga dams na ito ay puro pagpapahirap sa maraming affected barangays/towns at sa mga motorista.

    Isa lang ang  mabuting bagay na naidudulot nito. Nakakawala ang mga bangus at tilapia sa mga palaisdaan at maraming mga mahihirap anf nakakahuli sa mga canals at ilog. Fot 2 to 3 days ay busog ang mga mahihirap nating kababayan.

  • Anonymous

    walang idinudulot na ginhawa ang mga dams na ito dahil ang numero una dahil kung bakit tinayo itong mga dams ay dahil sa pag produce ng kuryente at sa mahal ng singil ng kuryente mas mahal pa sa north america…….marami sinisira kabuhayan ang mga pagbaha na ito at mas marami ang mga apektado na mamamayan na patuloy na pinapahirapan ng mga politician at kalikasan……..

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rhett-Pansacola/583569700 Rhett Pansacola

    Guys kung walang dam, wala tayong tubig na pangsakahan at tubig inumin sa bahay nyo, at mas malaki baha na meron kayo kaya hindi masyadong baha dahil malaking bahagi ng tubig eh nahaharang ng dam at ngayon na nagkataon lang na puno na at may padating pa na bagyo kaya kailangan mag release ng tubig ng paunti-unit…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_D37WZ2JMEQUZR4QG74FRVXUJFQ John

    The problem with this country is there is no end to complains. kung walang dam, complain na walang tubig pag tag-tuyo. kung may dam naman, complain na nagbabaha when dam release water to avoid a bursting disaster. If haya-an kasi ang dam na mag-overspill there is the danger na ma-erode or di kakayanin ng foundation nito, and i hope we all could imagine what would happen if the dams bursted.  

    I believe the root problem of everything is overpopulation. sobra dami na population natin na kahit saan tinatayu-an na ng mga kabahayan and expect nature to spare us from its power. When we reduce our population and most of our problems will be solve. Problems like lack of school classrooms, job availability, health care for everyone, traffic, budgeting, bahay at lupa, hunger at marami pa.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AYITA5V33GYZSLC3G37UCVNTKA Ben

    De Ja Vu?  remember what happened during ondoy, inundiating M.Manila? Then typhoon “Pepeng” wrought massive destructions and floodings in Pangasinan and Nueva Ecija as two major dams – the Pantabangan in Nueva Ecija and the San Roque in Pangasinan – were forced to open their floodgates to prevent a more catastrophic breaching and collapse of the structures. That was in 2009, now 2011 a new typhoon named Pedring, flooded Bulacan and damaged Manila, even in far flung Mindanao is affected. So, where is the PPP for floood control? We are just repeating the same problem again and again, the reinforced road dikes, drainage system, and open spaces (Zoning) must now be implemented. PNoy is so paralyzed due to his fear of corruption, canceling most of the flood projects. One project at a time for flood mitigation must be done, are we waiting for a wholesale implementation of those projects? I`m sure their safety features are no match to corruption, doing nothing costs time (Pnoy just have 4 more years to implement his walang corrupt walang mahirap) and destructions and pulling the economy down, without the PPP expect more destructions and sacrifices of lives to occur.

    • tong_its

      not all presidents are economists or engineers or business managers or administrators. what is you said contains grains of truth–he is paralyzed. so this is what pnoy knows best: step on the brakes. or: before anything else, shut the purse. it’s part of housewife economics. women have more financial smarts than he has, not to mention the yellow klutzes who do the planning for him.

  • Anonymous

    Where is Mangatarem, Urbiztundo and Basista in the news. Some Barangay of these towns also experiences flooding due to the rise of water in Agno River?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IHSZXWUIACYJC7CX3TBCSCYRNQ joe

    Ang pag kakaalam ko, ang dam ay ginawa para i imbak ang tubig para magamit sa irigasyon pag tag tuyo at sa kuryente. Ang mga engineer pag nag design ng ganito ay  X3 sa normal lakas, kaya di dapat ito masisira kahit umapaw o mag over flow. Ang systemang nangyayari, pag umulan, tinatakot nila ang taong bayan kaya may dahilan silang mag release ng tubig, Sa ganun, mag karoon ng CALAMITY at siyempre lalabas ang pinakahihintay ang CALAMITY FUND. So pede nilang wag muna isara ang pagpapaagos ng dam hanggat di pa dumadating pondo. Kung talagang PALPAK ang mag engineer na nagdesign at gumawa nito, dapat simulan na pagisipan kung pano it titibayan.  Ang overflow ay di pata katakutan, kung tama ang desgn ng mga dam.

  • http://twitter.com/Lawrence1704 Lawrence Sheuffer

    This is because of the inherent potential energy from the water, even if it overflows but in big volume from upstream like say a meter high there would be a big difference in what it was designed for. we all know that structures when built there were design parameters so as to be safe, and you wouldn’t design a dam over over the studied hydro capacity then. Maybe before the design capacity for rainfall were 500mm per year and now we are getting 300mm per hour. i hope it enlightened us all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shikachoji-Nara/100002751479191 Shikachoji Nara

    kahit papano, dapat magpasalamat ang mga taga-pangasinan dahil sa San Roque Dam na siyang sumasalo ng tubig galing Binga at Ambuklao Dam.. Nung kasagsagan pa ng bagyong Pedring sila nagpakawala ng tubig.. Kung wala sana yung San Roque, nung pang tuesday nagkabaha dun.. ilang gates kaya yung bukas sa 2 dam na yun, buti di pa puno San Roque nun, ngayon na lang.. Nung nasa Pangasinan pa kami, pag may bagyong malakas, panigurado ang baha.. ngayon bihira na lang kasi may sumasalo na ng tubig galing sa 2 dam na yun, at di babaha maliban na lang kung mapuno ang San Roque..

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000247761235 Jhon Doe

      Really? Are you saying San Roque was built to catch the water from the other dams and if San Roque was not built, Pangasinan would be flooded. FYI, you are wrong. There were many rivers before, going to different outlets and these water would be diverted going to different directions not only towards Pangasinan.

  • http://twitter.com/CoolEJ Eric John Castro

    bobo na mayayabang yang mga taga san roque.. nung 2009 tinwagan ko mga yan para lang tanungin kung bakit 280 pa rin ung level nila e andyan na ung bagyo. d man lang nagrerelease. sabi daw kaya daw ng dam un. wag daw ako sawsaw kasi alam nila ginagawa nila. naoofend ko daw sila.. yabang na bobo.. ayun lumubog buong pangasinan.

  • http://joboni96.myopenid.com/ joboni96

    akala ko ba ok na ung dam protocols

    dapat magrelease before the rain comes and falls
    para hindi sabay sa taas ng ilog
    at mabaha ang mga kababayan natin

    kaya napaka importante
    ang pagasa rain forecast at
    mga rain sensors sa watershed
    at river water level sensors
    as inputs to the dam water release protocol

    anong ginagawa ng mga libong
    doctorated bureaucrats na
    pinag aral sa abroad at
    tinustusan ng pamahalaan?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001496341016 Beng Grande

    Nagtratrabaho na ba ang Presidente? Nagpakita na ba sa mga disaster affected areas? Any new major policy announcement from him on disaster management/mitigation? or naglalaro pa rin siya ng bagong bili niyang gadgets from Japan? …

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000247761235 Jhon Doe

    Whose fault is these? Prior to building the dam, people from Itogon have long been demonstrating to protest and if possible prevent any disaster from happening. What were the Pangasinenses doing? Receiving money from those gullible people who couldn’t wait to get their kick backs and start building the said dam. Because of this, the effort of the Highlanders were put to waste. They were not only fighting for their right. They were also protecting the low lying Pangasinenses. Unfortunately, they were easily blinded by the money.

  • Anonymous

    Pres Aquino should kick out immediately from office before it is too late these misfits from Napocor and National Irrigation Authority who are managing dam spillages at the dam floodgates. These people are completely useless! They should be charged criminally. They have been squabbling and inordinately keep on telling the people that  “they have to release the water so that the dam will not burst”. Very irresponsible statement indeed!. Why not open the floodgates much earlier in small quantities say a month earlier before the rainy days and maintain it gradually  thereafter?  Even a tot in the elementary grades knows about this very simple procedure of drinking little by little to avoid being drowned…. Could this be not just a ploy or just plain stupidity on the part of the Napocor and NIA employees that are managing the dams? And these people are claiming they are professional hydraulic engineers?? Hahah! They are simply stupid!

  • Anonymous

    Dam releases water to avoid overflowing. A bursting dam is more
    catastrophic in nature than what Bulacan, Nueva Ejica, Pampanga and
    Pangasinan is experiencing right now.

    Major problem here is that most areas of the four provinces i’ve
    mentioned is a natural catch basin. Long before the civilizations came
    these areas are natural swamp. It seems that the flooding we have with
    these areas are all inherent. Naturally water flows down to these low
    lying areas.

    Main culprit is the abuse and rape of our Sierra Madre our natural water
    shed. No trees means more flash flood at times of heavy downpour.

    Inadequacy of urban planning or no urban planning at all on the part of
    LGU’s. A lot of former fish ponds turned into farmland and later
    converted into a human settlement or sometimes into a subdivision.
    Tributaries are being clogged or diverted into private fish ponds but
    more often it is the human settlement who clogs our waterways.

    It seems that no one, on these LGU’s affected, cares today. They are
    all too GREEDY to collect taxes and “tongpats” and push their province
    into rapid urbanization in disguise of what they glorify as progress.

    Floods like this are eye openers. Though its a form of rude awakening
    we need to be awakened. Let us protect our mountains and watersheds.
    Lets not be too GREEDY.

  • Anonymous

    Major “TIME BOMBs” are ticking.  Dapat dyaan i-anticipate na ang worst case scenario months before kung puputok ang mga dam na yan dahil sa bagyo season. At yung mga Corporate #$@ hole sa mga power corporatiosn na yan ay dapat pagsisibakin. Incompetent idiots. Mga bobo !!! 

  • Anonymous

    dam if you do dam if you dont. hehe

  • Anonymous

    Build more irrigation basins to catch (and store) those water….

    Ay mali! Kinurakot na pala yung pondo sana para sa irrigation ng pananim.

    As useless, the people suffer… again.

  • Anonymous

    Shouldn’t they also look into zoning ordinances in these areas?  Just curious, are people supposed to reside in areas on the path of water releases from the dam?  Or shouldn’t there be more adequate drainage systems especially for these areas?

    • Anonymous

      Tama ka lexmil..walang urban planning. The whole area is much of a hazard zone not feasible for human settlements. Dagdag mo pa mga pasaway na fishpond operator along major tributaries. Puro korupsyon mga LGU at sa gitna ng kalamidad nasasayang ngayon ang pondo for relief and operations.    

  • Anonymous

    Noynoy critics: kasalan ni Noynoy yan!

    Noynoy: kasalan ni GMA yan!

    ano nga ba talaga nangyari? Bakit grabe yata ang baha? Kailangang gumawa ng report ang DPWH nyan. At hindi basta report lang ha. Kailangang ma pinpoint kung ano ang sanhi na preventable naman at kailangang may kaukulang aksyon.

  • http://twitter.com/toothpastesales be honest

    P-Noy fired the Chief engineer last year because the dams released water that flooded the provinces.
    Now what ? Will P-Noy fire some of his TRUSTED  but irresponsible staff ?

  • http://www.facebook.com/amparadorolly Rolly Amparado

    napakasimple lang naman ang dahilan sa baha,,,UMULAN PO EH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.
    kung wala ang mga dam na yan,baka ambon lang lagpas Tao na ang baha

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E7SFPQFWHHEAJ4IZKPD7OYJXVM Jabba

    NAPOCOR has caused too much hardship for the country. From power generation to dam management, they can’t do it right. This useless entity must be abolished as soon as possible and be privatized. They have inflicted so much problems. Privatization will get rid of misfits and non-performing employees.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XJONLBTZROWZAQYK52JMQNSXL4 Datu Puti

    Dapat nagkaroon ng preventive action itong mga authorities na ito……at least one week bago pumasok ang bagyo sa atin, makipag coordinate sana sila sa PAGASA kung kailang papasok ang bagyo sa Pilipinas. Wala namang masama sa maagap ng paghahanda sa pagpapakawala ng tubig sa mga dams. Maiiwasan pa ang mga ganitong sakuna……Minsan sana sa ang authotities magisip naman kayo sayang ang binabayad namin sa inyo, puro pagnanakaw na nga lang ang inaatupag ninyo mga tamad pa kayo…..Kaya sa mga authorities ang Dam nyo talaga…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000247761235 Jhon Doe

    Whose fault is these? Prior to building the dam, people from Itogon have
    long been demonstrating to protest and if possible prevent any disaster
    from happening. What were the Pangasinenses doing? Receiving money from
    those gullible people who couldn’t wait to get their kick backs and
    start building the said dam. Because of this, the effort of the
    Highlanders were put to waste. They were not only fighting for their
    right. They were also protecting the low lying Pangasinenses.
    Unfortunately, they were easily blinded by the money.

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