Water in Angat Dam enough for farms until May – NIA
BULAKAN, Bulacan — Water collected at Angat Dam is sufficient for irrigating farmlands in Bulacan and Pampanga provinces and for supplying potable water for Metro Manila residents, according to the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).
With water at the dam’s reservoir measured at 198.23 meters above sea level (masl) as of 8 a.m. on Monday, the National Water Resources Board allowed the NIA to continue discharging irrigation water until the middle of May, said Felix Robles, NIA Bulacan manager.
“The dam has been at a comfortable level for the past three to four years. Under normal condition, supplies are usually cut on the first or second week of April but today, irrigation has been extended until May 15 because Angat Dam has ample water,” he said.
The water shortage affecting Metro Manila is not due to Angat Dam where residents get 97 percent of their water requirements, he said.
The tunnel facilities delivering water from Ipo Dam to La Mesa Dam transmit supply at a rate of 46 cubic meters per second.
About 27,000 hectares of rice lands in 17 Bulacan towns and four Pampanga towns have been allocated 40 cms of water for March, Robles said.
That would be reduced to 35 cms in April and lowered further until May 15 to allow more water to be diverted to Metro Manila faucets, he said.
Irrigation is restored in August and September when rains replenish the dam reservoir.
Angat Dam’s maximum capacity of 212.00 masl must be reached by year-end to supply farms during the first months of the following year.
In Isabela province, intermittent rains in the past two days had barely drenched parched farmlands.
Farmers there said the drought brought about by El Niño had hurt their income from harvesting palay (unhusked rice), corn and vegetable crops.
“We are running out of money as we spent more for diesel in running our water pumps. The sad thing is we will harvest lesser than expected and sell the produce at very minimal price,” said Robert Lee Bangloy, 38, a farmer.
Bangloy, who tills a 2-ha rice farm at Barangay Raniag in Ilagan City, said he was also forced to let his fishpond dry up due to drought.
Nida Mata, 52, of Barangay San Antonio, Ilagan City, said she had resorted to using a manual pump to fetch water for her vegetable garden.
“It is tedious but I have to do it so I could at least harvest something and sell in the market,” she said. —REPORTS FROM CARMELA REYES-ESTROPE AND VILLAMOR VISAYA JR.
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