NIA sees plenty of water for rice farms this year
Urdaneta City, Pangasinan (2 February) -- The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) has assured enough water for farms in Pangasinan this year even if drought should come in the coming summer season.
The assurance was made by NIA Regional Director John Celeste based on the number of silted irrigation canals along the Agno River that had just been rehabilitated through a special project called Agno River Integrated Irrigation Project (ARIIP) headed by Engr. Reynaldo Mencias.
Financed from part of the P400 million released by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo through Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap to boost rice production, ARIIP was already able to restore 70 per cent of the silted irrigation canals in eastern and central Pangasinan.
The ARIIP was one of the projects launched by the government to boost the North Luzon Agri-business Quadrangle (NLAQ), a super region which Secretary Yap was assigned to take charge of.
Celeste said these irrigation canals need to be sustained through the construction of a giant re-regulating pond down below the existing San Roque Multi-Purpose Project (SRMP) located upstream of the Agno River.
To date, the government is negotiating a more than Php10 billion loan from China to fund the re-regulating pond that will impound all the water discharged by SRMP during its only eight-hour day operation.
If there is no re-regulating pond, the water being discharged by SRMP downstream of the Agno River while generating electricity will just flow down to the Lingayen Gulf.
Celeste said that while the loan from China is being awaited, NIA is proceeding with construction of the proposed re-regulating pond's head gate (intake) that will convey water to the different national irrigation systems covering several towns in eastern and central Pangasinan. (PIA Pangasinan) [top]