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NIA-Negros Occidental assures rice farmers of maximum water supply

BACOLOD: The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) assured rice farmers served by the Bago River Irrigation System (BRIS) in Negros Occidental of maximum availability of water supply amid the drought due to El Niño experienced by the province.

Engr. Isaias Melendez, division manager of NIA-Negros Occidental Irrigation Management Office (NOIMO), said on Tuesday that they regularly monitor the water level in the Bago River Dam and in the main canals to determine how many hectares can be irrigated by the current level.

‘The NIA, for the main conveyance structures, will see to it that maximized availability of water from the dam can be supplied and utilized fully, efficiently, and effectively by our farmers for irrigation,’ Melendez said in an interview over Bago City’s Radyo Bago.

The BRIS serves irrigators associations in six local government units, comprising the Federation of Irrigators Association Central Negros (FIACN), including the cities of Bago and La Carlota as well as the municipalities of Murci
a, Valladolid, San Enrique, and Pulupandan, with a total program area 10,920 hectares.

In Negros Occidental, irrigated areas are the least affected by the drought although some areas in Valladolid have reported damage to rice crops, based on the latest report of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist.

‘In case of scarcity (of water supply) or critical water level, the irrigators associations plan the water distribution through the rotational method,’ Melendez said, adding that it is necessary to maximize the utilization of irrigation water and eliminate wastage.

FIACN, which manages and supervises the water delivery operations of BRIS, is implementing a weekly water distribution rotation as one of the measures to mitigate the effects of the prolonged dry period resulting in dwindling water supply.

The FIACN-BRIS has divided the scheduling for water delivery into north and south portions of its service areas.

The south includes portions of Bago City, La Carlota City, Pulupandan, Valladolid, San Enriqu
e, and Pontevedra, while the north covers Murcia and other parts of Bago City.

Starting March 1, water distribution is scheduled in the north, which has normal farming activities in five hectares under the third cropping season.

Melendez said that the NOIMO has two units of backhoes or excavators under the NIA equipment re-fleeting program that they deploy to rechannel water from the dam and for the desilting of canals.

Source: Philippines News Agency