Bulacan, Pampanga farms to get less water from Angat Dam
BUSTOS, Bulacan, Philippines — The water elevation at Angat Dam on Wednesday dropped to 197.06 meters above sea level, which was still far below the normal high water mark of 212 masl, according to the Bulacan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office.
The dam’s water level was at 197.66 masl on Jan. 31 and was already nearing the dam’s minimum operating level of 180 masl.
In a phone interview on Wednesday, Francis Clara, head of the Water Control Coordination Unit of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), said the dipping stock at the reservoir due to the lack of rainfall had forced them to reduce the water allocation for irrigation in the provinces of Bulacan and Pampanga to allow enough supply for Metro Manila.
Situated inside the Angat watershed, the dam straddles the mountainous areas of Norzagaray town near the Sierra Madre mountain rangers in the eastern part of Bulacan. It supplies 98 percent of Metro Manila’s potable water.
Clara said water allocation for farms in Bulacan and Pampanga was reduced to 20 cubic meters per second from 32 cms starting Tuesday. Angat’s normal water allocation for farm irrigation is 40 cms.
NIA manages Bustos Dam, which catches water released by Angat Dam for irrigation of 26,000 hectares of rice and vegetable farms in 17 Bulacan towns and four Pampanga towns.
Carlos Dimaapi, a farmer from Plaridel town in Bulacan, said reducing the irrigation supply would have “little impact” on rice plants since they were scheduled to harvest in the next two weeks.
According to Clara, irrigation supply from Angat would be further cut down to 15 cms by March and could be reduced further to 5 cms by April in anticipation of lack of rainfall during the dry season.
He said the amount of rainfall over the Angat watershed from December last year to January this year failed to raise the reservoir’s elevation although the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration had said that the country might experience the impact of La Niña until April.
La Niña is a weather phenomenon that is associated with above-normal rainfall conditions due to unusually cooler than average sea surface temperature.
In December 2021, the highest elevation recorded in Angat Dam was at 201 masl, which was 11 meters short of the 212 masl normal high level.
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