P770 million rehab plan for UCRIS proposed
by Peter A. Balocnit
Tabuk, Kalinga (30 November) -- The Kalinga Provincial Irrigation Management Office (KaPIMO) is preparing a comprehensive plan for the total rehabilitation of the Upper Chico River Irrigation System (UCRIS) aimed to expand the service area of the system.
Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Proceso Alcala made an ocular inspection at the dam site and the canal last week and directed the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and the KaPIMO management to prepare a plan for possible funding by the Japan for International Cooperation Agency.
According to Engineer Carmen Bustonera, OIC of UCRIS, the project proposal estimated to cost P770 million will irrigate an additional production rice area of 1,218 hectares - 718 hectares in Kalinga and 500 in Isabela side.
Butonera said KaPIMO proposed to the Secretary to restore the system's high service efficiency under the Participatory Irrigation Development Project (PDIP) that will rehabilitate and improve both the Chico diversion dam and Talaca catch dams including the upgrading of embankments of the main diversion canal, Tabuk supply canal, and lateral canals.
Outlet protection works of all existing structures were also proposed for improvement so with measuring and control devices, service access roads and terminal facilities.
Farm-to-market roads within the service area are proposed for concreting and embankment protection to improve access of products to the market.
Under the proposal, Bustonera said that aside from the 1,218 targeted area to be irrigated, it will benefit 5,511 farmer-beneficiaries who will till 744 idle service areas restored. It will also generate 7,803 jobs and empower 11,548 people in the agriculture sector, she added.
It can be recalled that the actual construction cost of the World Bank funded system was P827 million. It started operation in 1983 and became a system in December 1, 1986. Its service area covers 28 barangays including those in Quezon and Mallig in Isabela province. The three major structures of the system are the Chico diversion dam, Talaca catch dam, and the Chico siphon.
The potential service area is 17,551 hectares but has a firmed-up or the actual irrigated service area is 12,000 has. - 6,500 in the Kalinga side and 5,500 in Isabela.
There are 21 irrigators association - 10 in Kalinga and 11 in Isabela with a total number of 7,716 landowners and 10,374 farmers served by the system. Last year, KaPIMO collected P25 million from irrigation fees. (PIA-Kalinga) [top]