Monday, April 28, 2014

Pantabangan Dam dips due to searing heat, nears critical level

CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija–Water level at the giant Pantabangan Dam, which irrigates over 100,000 hectares of agricultural lands in three provinces in Central Luzon, dropped to 181 meters yesterday amid the searing heat and is now nearing critical level.

          Engineer Josie Salazar, operations manager of the National Irrigations Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation Systems (UPRIIS) said the water level at the dam is now at 181.44 meters as of noon yesterday, which is lower compared to the 187.05 meters they recorded over the same period last year.

          Yesterday’s water level was way below the spilling level of 221 meters and is barely 9.44 meters above the critical level of 172 meters. It is projected to go down to 181.19 meters by the end of this month and to 178.3 meters by the end of June.

          Salazar attributed the dip in the dam’s water level to climate change, high temperature and additional area programmed for irrigation.

          She said that for this year, they have programmed for irrigation 114,026 hectares, up by 2,772 hectares from  last year’s 111, 254 hectares.

          Salazar stressed that in spite of the dwindling water supply, there is nothing to worry about since this is a normal occurrence during this time of the year.

          “The dam can manage all irrigated areas until the end of May and farmers are advised to maximize the use of water from the dam,”she said.  

        UPRIIS is the country’s largest national irrigation systems administratively supervised by NIA. It operates the World Bank-funded Pantabangan Dam which irrigates farmlands in Nueva Ecija, San Miguel and San Ildefonso in Bulacan and Arayat in Pampanga.

Water level at the Masiway, Rizal and Aulo Dams located at the downstream of Pantabangan Dam had also dwindled due to intense heat and lack of rains. (Manny Galvez)


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