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PIA Press Release

NIA conducts river channeling to irrigate Aklan's El Niņo-vulnerable farms

by Venus G. Villanueva

Kalibo, Aklan (17 February) -- The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) is conducting river channeling to enable irrigation water to reach ricefields especially those at tail-end portions badly needing water.

According to NIA-Aklan, riceplants are now at its most sensitive and important stage - flowering.

John B. Reynado, Sr. Water Resources Facilities Technician of NIA-Aklan said river channeling is now conducted in 2 areas of Aklan River to enable irrigation water to flow to farms in Barangay Sigcay in Banga and in Malinao.

The NIA has deployed standby equipment in the areas - a bulldozer and a backhoe - to be used in channeling the river water to irrigation canals.

Channeling is essential as the water level in the riverbed has gone very low, unable to reach the intake portions of irrigation systems.

Reynado said NIA Aklan is implementing the rotation method of water distribution to farms, and appealed for the help and cooperation of irrigators associations in the eastern and western part of Aklan for the orderly distribution of irrigation water.

"I also appeal to farmer-beneficiaries not to fight over water distribution. If there are problems, contact our NIA field personnel," Reynado said.

Reynado also called on farmers not to throw garbage in irrigation canals to enable water to reach the farms smoothly and to prevent water wastage. Too, he reminded duck-raisers not to interfere with water distribution, diverting water to their ponds/farms for their ducks, because at this point, flowering riceplants need it the most.

Besides river-channeling, NIA is also planning to install shallow tube wells at tail-ends of irrigations systems to help mitigate the effect of El Niņo in ricefarms.

NIA-Aklan is now conducting round-the -clock monitoring of the irrigation water situation in Aklan, led by its Division Manager Rizalo Concepcion.

Aklan, along with neighboring province Antique, was assessed by PAGASA to be moderately affected by El Niņo, while Capiz, Iloilo and Negros Occidental are considered as "highly-vulnerable areas". (PIA) [top]

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