Tuesday, October 21, 2014
NIA, NUEVA ECIJA LGU HOST WATER SUMMIT, LAY DOWN BATTLE PLAN AGAINST EL NIÑO
PALAYAN City, Nueva Ecija – The National Irrigation Administration led by Administrator Florencio F. Padernal and the provincial government of Nueva Ecija headed by Governor Aurelio M. Umali hosted this year’s Nueva Ecija Water Summit on October 15, 2014 at the Nueva Ecija Convention Center, this city. The activity primarily aimed to present the current water situation in the coverage area of Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation System (UPRIIS) – headed by Engr. Reynaldo D. Puno – to base the formulation of measures that would help to mitigate the negative effects of the El Niño phenomenon.
PAG-ASA forecasted that the climate phenomenon, which occurs across the tropical Pacific Ocean, will peak during the last quarter of 2014 until beginning of second quarter of 2015. This particular climate pattern is mostly associated with lack of rainfall occurrence, drought, and abnormal weather conditions. Countries that are dependent on agriculture and fisheries like the Philippines are said to be the most affected by El Niño. Due to this event, rice and food production will likely to suffer.
Currently, Pantabangan Dam had been suffering the initial effects of the phenomenon. Due to the lack of rainfall occurrence, particularly in Luzon, the water elevation of the reservoir as of July 2014 is only at 182 meters. Based on the average and maximum inflows, the projected water level on November 30 is 194.22 meters (average inflow) or 209.53 (maximum inflow) which is still below the Operation Rule Curve of 212.15 meters.
In connection to this, it is forecasted that only 70% or 80,842 hectares out of UPRIIS’s total irrigable area of 114,490 hectares can be programmed for irrigation for the Dry Cropping Season 2015 that will affect 27,332 farmers.
Also one of the main purposes of the water summit is to convene the stakeholders involved in rice and food production in the province. It became the venue for all the participants to share trends and practices in relation to increasing agricultural productivity amidst the El Niño phenomenon. Aside from Padernal, Umali, and Puno, present during the summit were: DOST-PAGASA Administrator Dr. Vicente B. Malano; Department of Agriculture Asst. Regional Director Cris Bautista; and Representative of the OPAFSAM Ferdinand Hombrebueno. Also present were representatives from other private and government agencies, LGUs, and officials and members of Irrigators Associations (IAs).
Nueva Ecija Governor Aurelio M. Umali said he will allot funds to improve water flow of Peñaranda River hence improving irrigation especially during the peak of El Niño.
NIA Administrator Florencio F. Padernal and UPRIIS Operations Manager Reynaldo D. Puno assured the participants of the Water Summit that NIA is well-prepared for El Niño.
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