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PIA Press Release

Region 9 starts cloud seeding operations

Zamboanga City (4 March) -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) with the local government of the city, other national line agencies and private companies agreed to start the cloud seeding operations a soon as possible to arrest or to mitigate the effects of the El Nino phenomenon which is now gravely affecting vast farmlands in Luzon, Visayas and parts of Mindanao.

The move was the result of the meeting convened by City Mayor Celso Lobregat who called on all concerned government and private agencies to iron out the implementation procedures of the cloud seeding activity in the whole region.

Lobregat informed he had already requested earlier DA Secretary Arthur Yap for the funding of the region's mitigation plan.

"A total of P2.7 million was allocated by DA purposely for a one (1) month cloud seeding operations in the locality ", Lobregat said.

He explained the immediate action of Secretary Yap is an offshoot of the meeting convened by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on interventions to mitigate the effect of El Niņo in the country.

The cloud seeding would target the watershed areas as well as agricultural lands of the region. In the city, the 135 hectares Pasonanca watershed wherein bulk of water supply for the locality comes from is the primary target, the Mayor said.

He also emphasized the operation is not for energy purposes, however, dams would also be benefited on the rain propagation since these are surrounded by watersheds.

During the meeting, Mr. Teddy Bersabe of the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) said with the availability of fund, cloud seeding operations would start next week.

Bersabe explained a total of P33 thousand would be utilized for each flight which would be spend for the plane's fuel and to purchase table salt for the seeding.

There some difficulties in cloud seeding, number of cloud spotter should be installed in strategic areas to spot Cumulus Nimbus clouds that serve as rain propagator. We also consider the cloud temperature and the wind speed, and most of all clouds can easily dissipate, Bersabe further explained.

The sudden occurrence of brownouts and depleting water supply which is experienced in the city is already the effect of El Niņo, however, we hope that with the cloud seeding activity we could lessen the areas that would be affected, he said.

Bersabe claimed if the region would experience early rainfall in June, this would mean that the region is already in normal climatic condition.

Meanwhile, an excellent reaction from the representatives of the Zamboanga City Water District (ZCWD) was to share additional funding if the operation proved successful for the conduct of more cloud seeding operations.

Water supply distributed by the ZCWD emanates mainly from the Pasonanca watershed which is one of the target area of the initial cloud seeding operations aside from farmlands in the locality. (fnm/PIA-Zamboanga) [top]

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