Effects of dry spell felt in Isabela dam
LUNA, Isabela—While admitting that Magat Dam in Ramon town has enough water to support farms in the province, dam operators have considered rationing irrigation water and switching off farm supply temporarily by the end of March, to manage reservoir water during the dry season.
“We are nearing the end of the cropping season so the low water level can sustain [farms] until the end of this month,” said Wilfredo Gloria, acting operations manager of the National Irrigation Administration-Magat River Integrated Irrigation System.
Government weather experts said the country is experiencing a weak El Niño, a phenomenon that may extend the dry season until July.
On Thursday, water level at the Magat Dam reservoir was recorded at 175.56 meters above sea level (masl), a slight drop from the 176.05 masl on March 11.
Gloria, who was here for the town’s annual Padanum Harvest Festival, said the agency would gradually reduce irrigation services to 85,731 hectares of rice lands in the province.
Mario Antonio, a farmer from Cauayan City, said the drought has affected rice crops that were planted late in the season, not farms which have completed their harvest.
Luna Mayor Jaime Atayde said officials had anticipated the El Niño onslaught, so farmers and workers have taken on extra jobs at rice mills and carpentry shops to augment their income. Villamor Visaya Jr., Inquirer Northern Luzon
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