Saturday, April 27, 2013
CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija, April 27, 2013–Water level at the mammoth Pantabangan Dam, which irrigates over 100,000 hectares of agricultural lands in Central Luzon, continues to drop and is now nearing critical level due to the searing heat which has taken its toll on farmlands in Nueva Ecija.
As of late Friday, the National Irrigation Administration’s Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation Systems said water elevation at the dam was registered at 187.19 meters, way below the spilling level of 221 meters. It is fast approaching the critical level of 172 meters.
Engineer Josie Salazar, UPRIIS operations manager, said there has been a steady decrease of water level in the dam over the past week. Last April 20, its water level was placed at 187.71. A day after, it shrunk to 187.56. This further went down to 187.43 on April 22, to 187.32 on April 23 and to 187.24 on April 24.
Pantabangan supplies irrigation to farms in Nueva Ecija, San Miguel and San Ildefonso in Bulacan and Arayat in Pampanga.
Water level at the Masiway, Rizal and Aulo dams located downstream of Pantabangan Dam had also dwindled due to the intense heat and lack of rains.
Salazar, however, said there is no cause for alarm since the dam can still supply irrigation to the programmed areas this coming dry season of 115,000 hectares. She said that actually, the critical level of 172 meters is considered way, way too far to affect irrigation supply to farmers.
“There is really nothing to worry about,” she said, adding that by next month, they expect the water level to go up with the onset of the rainy season.
UPRIIS has also programmed to irrigate 110,000 hectares this rainy season and 29,000 hectares in the third crop.
Pantabangan Mayor Romeo Borja Sr. said farmers in certain barangays in his town where the Pantabangan Dam is located still managed to plant crops even if they don’t receive irrigation from the dam. (Manny Galvez)
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