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PIA Press Release

NIA tells farmers to use irrigation water properly

Tabuk City, Kalinga (6 March) -- National Irrigation Administration (NIA) officials here appealed to farmers to cooperate on the proper usage of water irrigation to avoid further losses on agriculture during the El Nino months.

In February, the rate of water depletion is fast from the maximum discharge of 46 cubic meter of the main diversion canal to 30.40 on the end of the month. However, NIA officials said the discharge volume is sufficient to meet the requirement of the Upper Chico River Irrigation System (UCRIS).

"The irrigation water supply of the Chico river is at present adequate to meet the requirement of 10,179 hectares standing crop area under normal irrigation and 993 has. under land soaking and land preparation," the NIA report said.

What worries the Irrigation Management Office (IMO) here is the prolonged dry spell that continues to lower the water level of the Chico river.

NIA has coordinated with the provincial government to execute counter measures on how to decrease waste water along built-up areas in Tabuk and prepare crisis management plan to mitigate the effects on El Nino on agriculture production.

David Awingan of IMO here said from the 26.63 cubic meter per second (cms) discharge, NIA diverted about 3.77 cms to the main diversion canal that makes a total of 30.40 cms discharge at present.

He said that 15 cms is being discharge to irrigate more than 6,000 hectares in Tabuk while 7.4 cms is released for Quezon. "From those maximum discharges, only 22.4 cms is being used for irrigation, the rest went to waste," Awingan explained.

He added that from the present 30.40 cms discharge, 8 cms is being lost along the canal stretch to illegal turn outs, household siphoning, and over supply of water on farmlands.

The IMO here has already started rotation of water supply to properly distribute irrigation to farmers. During their initial planning on mitigation measures, Awingan said the construction of steel gates to be installed on turn outs was considered to control the free flow of water.

Another he said is the adoption of compact farming wherein an area will be simultaneously farmed and another after some period and vice versa. "Water level of the Chico river will continue to lower if no rain occurs," Awingan warns.

Meanwhile, Provincial Agriculturist Gerardo Jose requested the National Food Authority to suspend the distribution of certified seeds until favorable weather conditions warrant optimal rice production. He further recommended that any undistributed certified seeds be used as buffer stock and could be utilized as rehabilitation measure later should the effect of the El Nino reached a calamitous proportion. (PIA) [top]

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