GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 14 March) — The National Irrigation Administration has rationed the water releases of irrigation facilities in South Cotabato province and the neighboring areas due to the dwindling supplies these past weeks as a result of the prevailing dry spell spawned by the El Niño Phenomenon
Engr. Orlando Tibang, head of the South Cotabato Irrigation Management Office, said the water level in several communal and river irrigation systems (RIS) in the area have dropped by 50 to 70 percent due to the lack of rains and the intense dry weather.
He said this has affected the Marbel-1 and 2 RIS, Allah RIS, Banga RIS and the communal irrigation systems in Koronadal City and the municipalities of Tupi, Norala and Lake Sebu in South Cotabato.
“We’re hoping that the dry spell will not extend to few more months or we will really have a big problem here,” Tibang said in a press briefing.
In the case of the Marbel-2 RIS, a significant portion of its 1,700-hectare service area has been affected by the decreasing water supply.
The irrigation facility, which covers portions of Koronadal City and Lutayan town in Sultan Kudarat, has served only 729 hectares of farmlands, he said.
Tibang said the Marbel-1 RIS currently serves 1,355 hectares in parts of Koronadal City and Tantangan town but portions of the area have already suffered due to declining supply.
The Banga RIS, which serves parts of Banga and Norala towns, presently supplies some 1,357 hectares but the water releases are rationed to only 50 percent of the service area, he added.
The Allah RIS-dam 1 has also experienced supply problems but so far maintained its services to 5,388 hectares of farmlands in parts of Banga, Surallah and Sto. Nino towns, he said.
Dam 2, which serves Sto. Nino and Norala towns, is currently closed due to periodic maintenance and will not reopen until May, said Tibang.
For the communal irrigation systems (CIS), the water levels have dropped to as low as 30 percent based on their latest monitoring.
Those severely affected were the CIS facilities in Sitio Supon, Barangay San Jose in Koronadal City, Barangay Tinago in Norala and in Lake Sebu town, he said.
If the dry spell extends until June or July, a significant portion of the area’s irrigated farms would be severely affected, Tibang said.
He said they monitored at least 300 hectares of farmlands already drying up in some areas served by the Allah RIS-dam 2.
“We can’t really do anything right now but to ration the water releases and wait for the situation to normalize,” he said. (MindaNews)