CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan — The National Water Resource Board (NWRB) has confirmed that based on their approved water allocation for the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), Bulacan and Pampanga farmlands are given until May 15 this year for the supply of irrigation water coming from Angat Dam even if its water elevation has gone down below its critical level.
Previously, Angat Dam officials automatically cut water allocation for irrigation purposes whenever water elevation at Angat Dam reached the 180-meter critical water elevation, said Mel Domingo, a farmer leader from this city.
If this happens now, many farmers in tail-end service areas of the irrigation system in Bulacan will suffer heavy losses, Domingo feared.
On the other hand, in a text message, Sevillo David Jr., NWRB executive director, said that “as of 6:00 am on April 28 water elevation in Angat Dam is 179.97 meters which is below the minimum operating level of 180 meters. At this stage water supply for Metro Manila is prioritized.”
David added that “NWRB is maintaining the allocation of 48 cubic meter per second (cms) while water release for irrigation will be reduced to 10 cms in [the month of] May to support requirements for its harvesting period.”
At the start of the planting period for the current dry-cropping season, the National Irrigation Administration has started releasing irrigation supply on January 9 at 40 cms based on the approved water allocation by the NWRB and reduced to 35 cms for April, however Angat Dam has reached its 180 meters critical level and the irrigation allocation was slashed further down to 10 cms.
David noted that “based on forecasted rainfall of PAGASA in Angat watershed it can be said that the requirement for domestic/municipal supply for May and June or until the onset of the rainy season is sufficient. We still have to closely monitor the level in Angat Dam as well as the projected rainfall.”
On the other hand, Josephine Salazar, NIA regional director for Central Luzon told RONDA Balita Online News that if ever the water allocation for irrigation purposes for Bulacan and Pampanga farmlands are abruptly cut, the NIA can provide water pumps to the farmers.
Meanwhile, Ma. Gloria Carillo, provincial agriculture of Bulacan said that the reduction of the water allocation for irrigation purposes for Bulacan farmlands will most likely affect areas in the tail-end service areas of the irrigation system of NIA that include those in the towns of Calumpit, Paombong, Bulakan, Balagtas, Bocaue and the City of Malolos.
Carillo said, “ part of our contingency plan is to check on available water sources on the affected areas and conduct shallow tube well and open surface pumps that could be used by the farmers.” (RONDA Balita Online News)