Pantabangan Dam and watershed. Web photo/CTTO
CABANATUAN CITY – The National Irrigation Administration vowed to complete its P16.46-million watershed management program that include a massive reforestation project for Pantabangan Dam by April 2021.
According to a statement from NIA-Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation System (NIA-UPRIIS) headed by department manager Engr. Rosalinda Bote, the agency’s Climate Change Project covers the establishment and maintenance of a 220-hectare reforestation and agroforest plantation of hardwood and fruit-bearing trees such as molave, narra, mimosa, duhat, langka, guyabano, cashew, bignay, and sampalok in the Pantabangan watershed.
“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,” the statement reads.
Bote said the project will help mitigate the “potential negative impact” of climate change in the facility that irrigates farms in Nueva Ecija and portions of Bulacan, Pampanga, and Tarlac.
Watershed management chief Daryl Pascua said the program started in March 2020 and set for completion in April 2021.
As of October, the said climate change project had an overall physical accomplishment of 74.04 percent and financial accomplishment of 51.60 percent, the NIA said.
It added that the P1.3-million maintenance and protection of the 10,356–hectare NIA-watershed area as a capital outlay project started in July and will be completed within the end of this year.
Administrator Ricardo Visaya maintained that NIA is committed to conserving the environment through efficient, effective and sustainable management of irrigation systems, especially where watersheds and reservoirs are located.
Aside from irrigation, Pantabangan Dam also provides electricity to the Luzon grid.