Water Diversion from Angat Dam Affects Central Luzon Farmers

Article excerpt

Thousands of farmers in Bulacan and Pampanga are losing much-needed irrigation water during the past 40 years due to the diversion of water from Angat Dam to supply Metro Manila and adjacent provinces.This admission was made in a press briefing by Arthur de la Cruz of the operations department of the National Irrigation Administration.The National Water Resources Board stressed that officially, NIA had been allocated 36 cubic meters per second (CMS) from Angat Dam daily, but it only uses 21 CMS at the minimum and 28 CMS at the maximum.The NWRB, the only agency that can allocate water nationwide and is mandated to grant water rights for utilities, said the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System gets 15 CMS from Angat daily.As a result of this diversion, the NIA could only supply its irrigation systems in Bulacan and Pampanga with water to serve 89 percent of the 33,000 hectares it was supposed to cover, meaning that 3,630 hectares are left to rely on rainfall.All told, NIA said, a total of 6,335 tons of palay are lost per harvest, or 3,167 tons of rice. Using 25 kilos per sack, the total grain production not realized by farmers would be 126,680 sacks per harvest. Rice farms in Central Luzon ordinarily have two cropping seasons per year. …