“It was only at 192.93 meter above sea level (msl) this week,” according to Engr. Olympio Penetrante, chief of the water management core group of the Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation Systems (UPRIIS), referring to the dam’s water level. “The forecast elevation was at least 200 (msl) at this time of the year,” he added.
The recent three typhoons that slammed through extreme northern Luzon did not dump heavy rains over the Pantabangan Dam area, he said.
These three typhoons were “Ferdie,” “Gener” and “Helen.” Of these three, the heaviest was “Ferdie” with winds of 220 km per hour that was felt in the Batanes area.
But the rains spawned by these typhoons were not that heavy over the 8,000-hectare reservoir of the dam. Some parts of Central Luzon and Metro Manila where they were disdained as they caused deep flood, however, carried the brunt of the heavy rainfalls.
“The inflow at the reservoir was only .15 millimeter which was short of the fi ve to 10 mm expected,” Penetrante said.
The dam still needs to irrigate the standing crops in several towns and cities in the province, he added. Of the total planted area of 113,174 hectares serviced by UPRIIS, only about 5,000 hectares of the crop had been harvested.
A much, much higher water level of the water at the dam’s reservoir is desired in order to irrigate at least 110,000 hectares of land for the next rice cropping, the UPRIIS offi cial said. The next season cropping, called “palagad”, starts in a few months, he said.
Penetrante said that in response to a request by UPRIIS manager Florentino David for cloud seeding, a team of personnel from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Philippine Air Force (PAF) and the National Irrigation Administration has been prepositioned in Pantabangan.
“(The team) is just awaiting favorable cloud formation to carry out cloud seeding over the watershed area of the dam,” Penetrante said.
He said that if the water level at the Pantabangan Dam would not reach the forecast level of 200.93 msl by November, only about 70,000 hectares would be irrigated this coming dry season cropping in the province.