By Freddie Velez
CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan – Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado scored the management of Angat Dam for being unfair to farmers in apportioning water from the reservoir.
During a press conference at the provincial capitol Wednesday, expressed dismay at how the farmers were always the first to suffer every time the water at the dam drops to critical levels.
“Ang ating mga magsasaka ang kauna-unahang naaapektuhan sa tuwing nagkakaroon ng pagbaba ng lebel ng tubig sa Angat Dam sapagkat sila ang unang pinuputulan ng supply ng tubig sa irigasyon. At ang mga pananim din nila ang unang nasasalanta kapag nagpapawala ng tubig ang mga dams sa Bulacan sa panahon ng tag-ulan,” Alvarado said.
The governor also said the province may be the host of the dam but even the Dumagats that live near it are not getting water and electricity from the reservoir.
“We will call the attention ng mga namamahala riyan. We will bring the issue again to them. Sila ang tunay na nagmamay-ari, ang mga indigenous ng ating kabundukan. Sila ay dapat kabahagi diyan na nakikinabang at hindi pinababayaan. Kung mayroon na unang magkakaroon ng kuryente, dapat ay sila. Ang unang dapat magkaroon ng malinis na tubig, dapat ay sila,” the governor said.
The governor bared plans to resolve the water crisis, including the construction of a sub-reservoir under Ipo Dam and the holding of water in Umiray, Quezon.
“Yung reservoir sa Quezon, sa Umiray, dapat hindi pinapapasok agad kapag rainy season, tanganan muna doon at huwag bubuksan, hold the Umiray water and only released it on dry spell, or when it is needed,” he said.
The Angat-Umiray catchbasin can hold a million cubic liters of water, enough not only for farms but for the domestic and potable water needs of Metro Manila.
Alvarado is hopeful the problem of the critical level at Angat will be resolved once the rain brought by the habagat comes.
As of 8 a.m. Thursday, the level was 158.13 meters , way below the dam’s minimum operating level of 160 meters.
The level in Ipo Dam 99.60 meters, and in Bustos Dam, 13.50 meters.
Alvarado suggested the reservoir’s bottom, which is heavily silted, be dredged.
He blamed the heavy siltation to the cutting down of century-old trees and rotting trees and logs at the bottom.