NIA to rush rehab of damaged facilities

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    CABANATUAN CITY – Several facilities of the National Irrigation Administration, including an under-construction dam in Bacolor, Pampanga, will need immediate rehabilitation, according to a top irrigation official.

    Antonio Nangel, NIA administrator, said that flood water which overflowed on irrigation canals also damaged embankments which repair has to be held immediately both for the purpose of draining rain water and sustaining the government’s food sufficiency program.

    He described the damages as “minor” though.

    “Nag-usap kami ni Secretary Alcala at pina-identify nga ‘yung kinakailangan ng emergency work,” Nangel said.

    He added that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has been supportive of the agency’s endeavor which is geared toward food self-sufficiency.

    Based on initial assessment, he said, among those facilities damaged by “Habagat” were in Pampanga and Bataan. Some dikes within the UPRIIS service areas are up for rehabilitation he said.

    Nangel meanwhile justified the pre-emptive release of water in some dams such as Magat Dam which started releasing water on Wednesday because its water elevation went to 192 meters, only a meter below its 193 meters spilling level.

    “But there was no problem there, the people and local officials were well-organized and well-informed,” he said.

    Dam water had not aggravated flood in any area so far, he claimed.

    Pantabangan Dam in Nueva Ecija, on the other hand, remained on a safe level, according to Nangel.

    With only about 209 meters water level, the huge reservoir that generates electricity for Luzon grid and supplies irrigation to rice fields in Nueva Ecija and other parts of Central Luzon could accommodate as many as three typhoons.

    But this level is expected to be reduced even once UPRIIS releases water irrigation for purposes when weather becomes stable in the next few days. “That is part of our dam protocol,” Nangel said.

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