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PIA Press Release

Waters of Matanao irrigation down by 50%

by JMD Abangan

1,000-hectare ricefields dried up, NIA XI says

Davao City (6 March) -- Around 1,000 hectares of rice-lands in Matanao, Davao del Sur have dried as the water level of Mal Irrigation System has gone down by 50 percent, National Irrigation Administration (NIA) XI Engineering and Operation chief Encarnacion Soriano said.

In a telephone interview, Soriano said only 1,600 hectares of the service area of Mal Irrigation System in Matanao sufficiently get water supply and have been planted this season.

"Ang uban wala makatanum," she said.

She was sure that rice harvests this quarter would go down as crops planted within the period had already been affected by El Nino.

Meanwhile, NIA XI is yet to determine the level of decrease of Padada Irrigation System which serves around 3,000 hectares of rice-lands in Davao del Sur, but field workers have noticed that it is starting to recede though no official report yet has reached the regional office, Soriano said.

"Nagkagamay na pud ang tubig, pero wala pay official report," she said in dialect.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has identified Davao del Sur as one of the identified areas where EL Nino strikes.

On the other hand, Soriano said water levels of irrigation systems in other provinces of the Davao Region are still sufficient.

Davao del Norte has Lasang Irrigation System, Libuganon Irrigation System, Kipaliko Irrigation System, Saug and Libuganon Left Irrigation System.

Compostela Valley has Batuto Irrigation System while Davao Oriental has Lupon Irrigation System.

On the other hand, Soriano said irrigation associations region-wide will be meeting next week during the Regional Irrigators Association Congress.

Among other concerns, members of the regional federation of irrigation associations will be discussing measures on how to adopt with the long dry season.

"They will be sharing planting techniques and water application," she said.

NIA XI is promoting a water-saving technology introduced by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The technology uses perforated pipes inserted 30 centimeters deep along ricelands to determine water availability.

"Kung makikita pang tubig sa pipe, we don't have to apply water (to such farm)," she as she explained that such technology helps in minimizing water especially during dry season.

The water-saving technology is pilot tested in a 200-hectare farm each along the service-area of Saug Irrigation System in Davao del Norte and along Padada Irrigation System in Davao del Sur.

Soriano said the pilot areas are expanding as farmers have noted the usefulness of such technology. (PIA XI) [top]

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