DA recommends cloud seeding in Zambo City as dry spell worsens

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/30 March) – The Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Soil and Water Manager (BSWM) has formally recommended for cloud seeding operations in this city.

The recommendation came after a two-man team from the BSWM completed its assessment last Thursday on the prevailing condition of the drought-stricken farmlands, crops and fishery products in this city.

City Agriculturist Diosdado Palacat said Monday the team has seen the urgent need to conduct cloud seeding operations to induce artificial rains.

As a form of weather modification, cloud seeding is the process of spreading either dry ice, or more commonly, silver iodide aerosols, through the use of an airplane into the upper part of clouds to stimulate the precipitation process and form rain.

Palacat said the team’s recommendation is awaiting approval from Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.

He said the BSWM team, headed by Corazon Ditarro, found this city’s prevailing condition to be falling within the criteria and guidelines for cloud seeding operations after making the rounds of the affected areas including the watershed.

The city government has pressed for such measure to due to the worsening dry spell that has damaged crops and fishery areas.

Ditarro earlier said the assessment included such criteria as the size of areas affected, which should be at least 1,000 hectares, existence of crops with critical growth and critical water level in reservoirs.

Latest reports from the City Agriculture Office showed the damages to crops and fishery products caused by the long dry spell have already reached 8,743.9 hectares with an estimated value of P129.44 million.

Of the total 8,743.9 hectares damaged, 1,389.8 hectares have no chance of recovery.

The Zamboanga City Water District reported the latest water level at its diversion dam was measured at 73.89 meters. The normal level is 74.20 meters.

The guidelines do not permit the conduct of cloud seeding operations over the areas or lands with existing fruit-bearing trees like mangoes and that the area should have no peace and order problems.

Ditarro also explained earlier that the funds for cloud seeding operations will come from DA-BSWM if they are carried out directly over agricultural lands with counterpart funds from the city government.

The DA is set to shoulder P3 million for the cloud seeding operations, the Zamboanga City Water District will contribute P1.5 million, and the city government will provide P300,000 as counterpart fund. (MindaNews)