‘Glenda,’ ‘Henry’ rains not enough to fill Angat Dam
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Philippines—The amount of rain dumped by Typhoons “Glenda” and “Henry,” and enhanced by habagat (southwest monsoon), have not helped increase the water level at Angat Dam in Bulacan province, an official of the National Power Corp. (Napocor) said on Thursday.
The elevation of the dam in Norzagaray town in Bulacan rose to 167.18 meters above sea level on Thursday, said Gladys Cruz-Sta. Rita, Napocor president.
The minimum operating level of Angat Dam, a major water source of Metro Manila, is 180 masl.
Sta. Rita said Thursday’s water level was up by 1.49 meters from Wednesday. “Elevation is still below minimum operating level so cloud seeding will proceed,” she said.
She said Napocor is shouldering the cost of 25 sorties of cloud seeding worth P1.4 million.
The first cloud-seeding operation began in May at a cost of P2.6 million, which was paid for by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS).
“We always seek Pagasa’s (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) go-signal before doing the cloud seeding. It will not push through if the forecast will change dramatically,” she said.
Sta. Rita said Pagasa announced on Tuesday that the forecasted El Niño is a “weak to moderate” event in the last quarter of 2014. “There is still a chance of neutral forecast based on international climate prediction centers,” she said.
Angat Dam needs 2,491 millimeters of rainfall to reach its minimum high level of 210 masl, but rains from the last two weeks gave only 50 mm, according to the Napocor’s dams management department.
On May 12, Napocor cut off water supply for irrigation, at 14 cubic meters per second, to more than 10,000 hectares of farms in Bulacan and Pampanga provinces after the dam’s level dropped to 180 masl.
On May 22, the National Water Resources Board directed Napocor to increase Metro Manila’s allocation from 42 to 43 cubic meters per second for two weeks. The supply was later reduced to 41 cubic meters per second.
The power generation of the Angat hydroelectric power plant was decreased to 15 megawatts due to the low water level.
In Bulacan, officials said they are expecting that the supply of bangus (milkfish) grown in the province’s fishponds to dwindle as a result of the devastation from Typhoon “Glenda.”
Gloria Carillo, provincial agriculture officer, said bangus and prawns worth P44 million were lost while P2.7 million of fishing equipment and pond structures were destroyed by the typhoon in the coastal towns of Hagonoy, Paombong, Bulakan and Obando, and the cities of Malolos and Meycauayan.
Bangus and prawns grown in Bulacan are supplied to Metro Manila dealers, Carillo said.
Ponciano Ronquillo, head of the municipal fishery and aquatic resources management council of Paombong, said production from fishponds in towns spared by the typhoon, like Baliwag, Plaridel, Bustos, Angat and those far from coastal villages, is expected to fill in the supply gap starting in September. Tonette Orejas and Carmela Reyes-Estrope, Inquirer Central Luzon
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