Tuesday, July 19, 2011
NIA exec assures enough water supplies on P100 million water sports complex
PALAYAN CITY, Nueva Ecija, July 20, 2011-The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) administrator Antonio Nangel, Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation Systems operations manager Reynaldo Puno and Governor Aurelio Umali guaranteed that the Aulo Dam will have adequate water amid concerns that the irrigation facilities might dry up and do not have enough water for the proposed P100-million water sports complex and theme park being eyed for the construction by the provincial government.
“The dam has enough water to accommodate the water sports complex project,” they said, explaining that the province tourism project, which is meant to propel as the new tourist mecca, centers on the development of the Aulo Dam as the nerve center of water sports activities, similar to the CamSur Watersports Complex (CWC), which has emerged as the country’s biggest tourist attraction because of its water sporting events.
The development of the P295-million, 27-meter high Aulo Dam, which irrigates 810 hectares, will be undertaken by the provincial government through a P100-million loan package in collaboration with the Department of National Defense (DND), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the NIA.
“The Aulo Dam is very much like CamSur except that what will be developed is a dam, unlike CamSur which developed a man-made lake, adding that the provincial government has hired CamSur Governor Luis Raymond “LRay” Villafuerte as consultant in developing the tourism park and sports complex,” Umali said.
Puno, whose UPRIIS operates the Pantabangan Dam and smaller dams like the Aulo Dam said that they have already devised a way to ensure that the dam will have enough water supply for the operations of the water sports complex.
“The NIA has decided to forego a third cropping so that water will be available at the dam’s reservoir year-round. We will no longer do a third cropping to make sure that water level remains normal,” Puno said.
“Nangel and I have agreed to heighten the spillway level by 1.5 meters and to hold dredging operations to increase its storage capacity. The NIA central office is allocating P20 to P25 million for the dredging of the dam’s reservoir,” Puno said.
Puno added that he and Nangel were both assured by Umali of the availability of the P100-million funding for the project which will start construction in 2012.
Umali, Vice Governor Jose Gay Padiernos and other local officials in the province recently visited CamSur and were awed by its success story in tourism which propelled it into greater economic heights.
The CWC features a world-class six-hectare complex with a six-point cable ski system for cable skiing, wakeboarding, knee boarding, water skiing and wake skating. It is now widely known as the best cable park in
Across the road from the CWC is the Lago del Rey family entertainment and water sports facility where a giant man-made lake features water slides, an aqua obstacle course and boat-towed wakeboarding and skiing. Families can go swimming, kayaking, dragon boating, aqua wall climbing or play water volleyball and water polo.
Tourists and water sports enthusiasts from around the world have flocked to seek out adventures in CamSur, which will host the 22nd Philippine Advertising Congress in November. It has hosted several high-profile events, including the annual Summit Water CamSur Marathon and the Ultimate Wake Championship, two of the country’s most important sporting events which include athletes from as far as the United States, Europe, South Africa and from all over Asia.
Prior to the establishment of its water sports complex, CamSur was mired as the 39th poorest province in the country but has since emerged as the 10th richest province.
The CamSur local government is the only eco-tourism zone in the country endorsed by the Department of Trade and Industry’s special attached agency, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority nowadays.
Umali said that it’s amazing how tourists now go gaga over CamSur. We have to learn from its experiences and take it from there to carve a niche for Nueva Ecija as an emerging tourist mecca.
“The Aulo Development Park will feature a zipline, zafari and zoo and offer activities for wakeboarding, motorbike, mountain trail and camp site,” Umali ended. (Jason de Asis)
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