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PIA Press Release

Ilocos RDC approves 5-year water harvesting program

By Freddie G. Lazaro

San Fernando City, La Union (February 5) -- The Regional Developmen Council (RDC) in Region One chaired by Ilocos Sur Governor Deogracias Victor "DV" B. Savellano had approved a proposed 5-year water harvesting program that provide a year - round availability of water for sustainable crop production.

This is in support to the food security programs of the administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, in which the program will help address the problem on scarcity of water requirement for growing crops during dry season.

"The program is very significant for us to fulfill our role as food basket for Northern Luzon and the Metro Manila Area," Savellano said.

Water harvesting is the collection and storage of runoff waters from the uplands during rainy season. The stored water will eventually be used and distributed for farming during dry seasons where other water resources are not available or uneconomical to develop. This method is also effective in recharging the aquifers, which are essential for domestic use.

Water harvesting is a proven technology to increase food security in drought prone areas. It also controls erosion and recharges ground water and storage to the aquifer. With two pronounced wet and dry seasons, the region suffers from a succession of difficulties with the wet season producing excess water causing flood and destruction in the lowland while the dry season making planting unsuitable with the lack of water.

Under the plan, the program will be done through construction of various small water impounding projects (SWIP) and small reservoir irrigation projects (SRIP) in priority areas in the region.

A total of 103 SWIP servicing at least 42,601 hectares from the four Ilocos Region provinces involving Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan were determined by the Department of Agriculture (DA), the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and the LGUs.

The program had an estimated budget of P18.2 Billion for a 5-year period of implementation from 2009 to 2013.

Of the identified SWIP programs, three of which have finished its pre-feasibility studies to include the Ansad SWIP in San Esteban, Ilocos Sur; the Cacapian SWIP in San Juan, La Union and the Lareg-Lareg SWIP in Malasiqui, Pangasinan.

According to Director Leonardo N. Quitos of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) in Region One, the fund for the proposed projects could possibly be sourced out from the General Appropriations Act (GAA), the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of Congress, and the LGU development funds or from the Official Development Assistance (ODA).

It was learned that the initial effort of the RDC to conserve water through the implementation of SWIP had been done in 2007.

This developed when a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) had been signed with the RDC, the regional offices of DA, NEDA, NIA, DENR, Bureau of Soil and Water Management and four Ilocos provinces to effectively respond to the need to provide water during the dry months for more sustained crop production. (PIA Ilocos Sur) [top]

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