By Freddie Velez
CITY OF MALOLOS – The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) assured rice farmers in Bulacan and parts of Pampanga they will have water for their crops until May 15.
Eliseo Bitangcol, NIA press relation officer for Central Luzon, said that for the current dry cropping season, the agency will provide water to its service areas in Bulacan and Pampanga.
Bitangcol said he sees no problem with irrigation until rice crops are harvested, based on the allocation provided by the National Water Resources Board.
The assurance was amid the water shortage being felt by Metro Manila residents being serviced by Manila Water Company Inc.
Metro Manila draws its water from Angat Dam, which is also the main source for irrigation of rice lands in Bulacan and parts of Pampanga.
The dam is now under the supervision of K-Water and San Miguel Corporation.
Rodolfo German, former plant manager of the Angat River Hydroelectric Power Plant (ARHEP), said that before the dam was acquired by the Korean company K-Water, and San Miguel Corporation, the top priority was supplying Metro Manila’s household, followed by the power generation of the National Power Corp., with irrigation for Bulacan and Pampanga coming in third.
If the water level at the dam reaches the critical 180-meter level, the irrigation supply for Bulacan is automatically cut off, German said.
Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Maria Gloria Carillo, the provincial agriculturist, said 32,719.30 hectares of the province ricefields are irrigated lands and 16,305 has are rain-fed.