Monday, May 26, 2014

‘El Niño’ lowers water level in Camarines Sur’s Rinconada Area
By John Mark Escandor

NAGA CITY, May 25 (PNA) -- The “El Niño” phenomenon has affected the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) dam in the Rinconada area as its water level dropped, forcing the NIA to temporarily stop water supply to farms that it services starting Wednesday.

The dam can service up to 6,000 hectares if it will release water.

The water supply is expected to last for only 15 days but the NIA does not consider yet as critical the water lack at 82.61-meter maximum elevation.

Under an agreement between the local government of Buhi, Camarines Sur, and the NIA, the latter can stock water in Lake Buhi up to 83.30 meters and release water up to the lowest level, according to Ed Yu, official spokesman of the NIA Bicol regional office based in Naga City.

He said that in the four Bicol provinces where there is a National Irrigation System, only in the Rinconada Integrated Irrigation System that the water level lowered.

In Camarines Norte, the water level in Alahiwow Dam and other dams in the province is still normal, Yu said.

In Calabanga, Camarines Sur, the three dams -- Tigman, Inarihan and Hinagyanan – have still normal water levels because the NIA has stopped releasing water for a while but resumed releasing water as the planting season has started.

If the El Niño will hit the Bicol region, about 7,170 hectares of rice lands will be affected.

Based on the experience of the NIA Bicol, the dam water level will really go down but in case this will happen, water supply to farms will be done not at the same time but will be made alternately to be able to supply water to all needing farms.

The NIA will also add personnel to monitor the distribution of water to farms to prevent some farmers from taking advantage. (PNA) CTB/FGS/JME/CBD/RSM