Dam rehab delays irrigation supply for Central Luzon farms

Ramon Efren Lazaro - The Philippine Star
Dam rehab delays irrigation supply for Central Luzon farms
The Angat Dam is photographed as its water level continues to decline due to dry season on July 6, 2023.
STAR / Michael Varcas

MALOLOS, Philippines — Irrigation supply from the Bustos Dam for rice fields in Bulacan and Pampanga has been delayed by a month due to the rehabilitation of one of the reservoir’s floodgates.

In a text message to The STAR, Josephine Salazar, chief of the National Irrigation Administration for Central Luzon, said Bustos Dam would start releasing irrigation supply for the dry cropping season from Jan. 2 until May 15.

Bustos Dam irrigates up to 25,000 hectares of palay farms in Bulacan and parts of Pampanga.

In 2022, the dam released water for irrigation from Dec. 1 until April 15 this year.

The dam sources much of its irrigation supply from Angat Dam and a small portion from the upstream Angat river system.

Salazar said rehabilitation of the dam’s Gate No. 5 started in November and was supposed to be finished within the month.

Due to the delayed rehabilitation, Bustos failed to store the excess water released from Angat in the past five days.

The water should have been reserved for the dry cropping season, especially with the ongoing El Niño phenomenon.

Records from the Bulacan disaster risk reduction and management office showed that Angat’s water elevation yesterday morning was at 212.90 meters, almost a meter above its normal high level of 212 meters.

Angat released 73 cubic meters per second (CMS) of water to its downstream river system, which was absorbed by the Ipo Dam.

Ipo normally discharges 145.50 CMS of water to Bustos Dam, raising the latter’s elevation to 15.84 meters.

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