Thursday, November 10, 2011
GUIMBA, Nueva Ecija, November 10, 2011-A top executive in this province said that it is not keen on the installation of closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras at the spillgates of the giant Pantabangan Dam, saying that this is not the best solution to monitor the rise in floodwaters in the province’s waterways.
Governor Aurelio Umali said that the history of the dam is the most important factor in the release of water so people could prepare for floods instead of relying on CCTVs where images beamed by these cameras would help feed local officials and residents accurate and early information on water levels.
Umali was commenting on plans in other areas hosting various dam systems to put up CCTVs as monitoring mechanisms to prevent overflowing and trigger floods.
Earlier, Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado raised the possibility of installing CCTVs at the spillgates of Angat, Ipo and Bustos dams and major rivers of the province with the monitoring systems to be set up at the operations center of the Bulacan provincial disaster risk reduction and management office (PDRDMO) at the capitol compound.
The plan was apparently hatched when flood ravaged the towns of Calumpit and Hagonoy at the height of typhoons “Pedring” and “Quiel” which was reportedly aggravated by the release of water from the three dams.
Umali said Nueva Ecija was able to prevent severe flooding during typhoons because its own PDRRMO thoroughly studied the history of water release of the Pantabangan Dam. “What is more important in place of the CCTV is to know the dam’s history – its inflow and outflow and its storage capacity – so dam regulators will be guided on what should be done,” he said.
Umali stressed that the province has effectively handled past calamities with consistent monitoring of low pressure areas and releasing water from the dam and other irrigation systems ahead of the coming typhoons.
The Pantabangan is the country’s biggest irrigation system, irrigating 102,000 hectares of agricultural lands in Central Luzon.
Umali cited that during typhoon “Ondoy,” the province suffered zero casualty because the Upper Pampanga river Integrated Irrigation Systems which runs the Pantabangan Dam released water several days before the typhoon came.
Dr. Abraham Pascua, provincial director of the Department of the Interior and Local Governments and PDRRMO co-chairman, said that at the height of “Pepeng” in 2009, UPRIIS released water prior to the onset of the supertyphoon, thus, preventing it from reaching spilling level.
He added that during a four-day period in October last year at the height of typhoon “Juan,” water level at the dam was recorded at only between 194 meters to 197 meters, way below the spillway level of 221 meters because UPRIIS already released water before the typhoon came.
“If you don't manage the dam well enough and its water release, then you will surely end in disaster,” he said, recalling the experience that befell Pangasinan when water overflowing from the San Roque Dam caused massive flooding.
Umali said the province’s systematic handling of irrigation systems has earned for it a recognition as a role model of disaster management and risk reduction among local government units in the country which prompted the Spanish government to extend 3.4 million euros (P203.2 million) worth of grant to the provincial government to further strengthen its capability to respond to disaster and calamity situations and implement rehabilitation programs.
The grant, the first of its kind involving disaster risk reduction, was extended by the Spanish Cooperation Agency for Development (AECID) which entered into a project partnership agreement with the Local Government Academy - an attached agency of the DILG - to strengthen local governments' disaster preparedness and response. It is now being used to fund the training component, infrastructure and livelihood components of the program in selected cities and municipalities of the province. (Jason de Asis)
Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this blog do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of "THE CATHOLIC MEDIA NETWORK NEWS ONLINE".