NIA targets completion of new watershed mgmt’ program for Pantabangan Dam

Published December 7, 2020, 6:00 AM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor

The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) is targeting to complete the watershed management program for Pantabangan Dam in Nueva Ecija by April 2021.

In a statement, NIA-Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation Systems (NIA-UPRIIS), headed by NIA Department Manager Rosalinda Bote, said once completed it will help mitigate the potential negative impact of climate change on one of the largest dams in Asia

“As our country is highly vulnerable to the effects of the global climate change, including sea-level rise, increased frequency of extreme weather phenomena, rising temperatures and heavy rainfall, NIA established efforts to ensure that watershed areas managed by our Agency continue to be protected and sustain the required quantity and quality of water in our reservoirs,” NIA said.

The implementation of the Climate Change Project of NIA-UPRIIS consists of the establishment and maintenance of 220 hectares Reforestation and Agroforest Plantation such as Molave, Narra, Mimosa, Duhat, Langka, Guyabano, Cashew, Bignay, and Sampalok that started this March 2020.

The total amount of the said project is P16.46 million including the Contract Works and Force Account Works.

As of October, the said climate change project has an overall physical accomplishment of 74.04 percent and financial accomplishment of 51.60 percent.

Furthermore, the P1.3-million Maintenance and Protection of 10,356 hectares NIA-Watershed Area as a capital outlay project has started in July and will be completed within the end of this year.

NIA Administrator Ricardo R. Visaya assured that the agency remains committed to conserving the environment through efficient, effective, and sustainable management of irrigation systems to where watersheds and reservoirs lie.

To recall, NIA was recently in hot water because of the controversial water release from Magat Dam, which largely contributed to the unprecedented flooding in Cagayan during the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses.

The Magat River Irrigation System (MARIIS) Dam and Reservoir was developed in 1985 to optimize the utilization of the water stored in the Magat reservoir, which is located in Magat river, the largest tributary of the Cagayan River.

Its irrigation facilities, including the reservoir, the intake gates to the hydroelectric plant, and the dam itself, is owned and managed by the NIA.