Magat Dam safe and in good condition, officials assure

RAMON, Isabela – Officials of Magat Dam assured the huge water reservoir in Luzon is in good condition, allaying fears among the people living around the area that the recent 7.1 magnitude earthquake may have caused some structural damages to it.

Magat Dam. File photo / Liezle Inigo

According to department manager Gileu Michael O. Dimoloy and Dam and Reservoir Division Manager Carlo C. Ablan, the dam is in good order, and that there is nothing to worry about the dam’s condition.

Citing the result of the dam’s inspection made by National Irrigation Administration-Magat River Integrated Irrigation System (NIA-MARIIS), the Magat Dam management said the earthquake had caused no damage to the four-decade old dam.

Days after the earthquake, the staff of NIA Central Office Dam and Safety Team made an in-depth inspection using modern instruments.

The earthquake struck northern Luzon on July 27, wrecking structural damages on hundreds of government and private buildings in Ilocos Sur and Abra, the epicenter, and resulting in the death of at least five people.

Magat Dam is a large rock-fill dam in the island of Luzon. It is located along the Magat River, a major tributary of Cagayan River. Specifically, it is located within the boundaries of Namillangan, Alfonso Lista, Ifugao and Ramon, Isabela.

Its construction started in 1975 and was completed in 1982. It is one of the largest dams in the Philippines. It is a multi-purpose dam which is used primarily for irrigating about 85,000 hectares (210,000 acres) of agricultural lands.

It also serves as a tool for flood control, and for power generation through the Magat Hydroelectric Power Plant.

Experts readily checked the condition of the dam to determine if there was any structural damage.

The experts found none, based on the observations of the Dam and Safety Team which were discussed with the management of MARIIS in their conference on August 4, 2022.

“The good news: The Magat Dam has no earthquake-related damage. Our Magat Dam is in good order,” NIA-Magat River Integrated Irrigation System office said in a statement.

Meanwhile, NIA Administrator Benny D. Antiporda assured to help if there is a problem in Magat Dam.

Earlier, Antiporda mentioned that there is a need for retrofitting.

“Magat dam needs retrofitting na, 1982 pa kasi yan. Para assured tayo on the safety” Antiporda told Manila Bulletin.

Meanwhile, NIA-MARIIS announced that on August 7, Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Magat Dam will release 200cu.m./sec. of water.

It said the dam will release water on Sunday, August 7, at around 2 p.m. to keep its safe level.

“Ang ipapakawalang tubig ay 200 cubic meters per second (CMS), na maaring madagdagan depende sa lakas ng ulan sa Magat Watershed, sanhi ng nararanasang Low Pressure Area/Southwest Monsoon,” NIA-MARIIS said in statement sent to Manila Bulletin.

“Kaugnay nito, aming pinapakiusap na iwasan muna natin ang pagtawid, pamamalagi at pati pagpastol ng ating alagang hayop sa ilog o sa katabi nito para makaiwas tayo sa anumang sakuna dulot ng maaring pagtaas ng tubig.”