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PIA Press Release

Tap other rivers for irrigation ? San Roque

By Danny O Sagun

Dagupan City (29 September) -- A series of impounding dams along the Ambayaoan River may help in preserving water for irrigation purposes, an official of the San Roque Power Corporation said Tuesday.

Vice-President for Corporate Responsibility Tommy Valdez said the river may complement the Agno River in providing irrigation needs of farmers from Pangasinan by having a series of reservoirs. He noted that the watershed of Ambayaoan is bigger than that of the Agno river.

Ambayaoan, Dipalo-Viray and Banila are the other river tributaries in the eastern corridor that eventually connect with the mighty Agno River which empties its waters into the Lingayen Gulf. Tapping these river systems for irrigation purposes will greatly help Pangasinan farmers, who Valdez said, have been accustomed to having up to three cropping seasons already because of irrigation waters from the San Roque dam. "Pag tapos nang tag-ulan wala nang tubig saying lang di nagagamit," Valdez said.

Water elevation at the San Roque dam now is at 251.49 meters above sea level (masl), which he said, is not enough to meet the power generation and irrigation needs. A water level at 280 masl is ideal to meet the demand until the next rainy season. The low critical level is 225 masl.

Engineer Virgilio Garcia of the National Power Corporation, who heads the flood forecasting and warning system for dam operations, disclosed that there are ongoing talks about which should be given priority, if it is power over domestic water supply or power over irrigation. "Dapat talaga pagtuunan ito ng pansin dahil sa kaukulangan ng tubig sa ating mga dam ngayon," he said in an interview over Radyo ng Bayan-DZMQ where he and Valdez guested.

The situation this year is very much different from that of last year when typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng dumped heavy rains and brought unprecedented floods in Metro Manila and here in Pangasinan.

"Hindi mapupuno ang dam ngayon kahit ganon katindi ang ulan na darating," Valdez said. He noted that before Pepeng came, the water level at the San Roque dam was already at the high critical level of 280 masl. Now it is barely above the low critical level.

A multi-purpose dam, it generates power and supply water for irrigation. A P4 billion re-regulating pond for irrigation is being constructed downstream about a kilometer away from the dam.

The two officials said what happened last year was an eye-opener and hopefully all concerned agencies including the people themselves have learned their lessons well and ready for any similar disaster this year or in the years to come. The Japan International Cooperation Agency extended assistance by installing additional monitoring points and rain gauge stations. Drills were also conducted in flood prone areas.

They also lauded the provincial government for the clearing of river and water pathways. (PIA Pangasinan) [top]

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