IRRIGATION WATER SUPPLY IN SOCOT DROPS DUE TO EL NIÑO
GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- The National Irrigation Administration has rationed the releases of water from its 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.
Engineer Orlando Tibang, head of the South Cotabato Irrigation Management Office, said Thursday the water level in several communal and river irrigation systems (RIS) in the area already dropped by 50 percent to 70 percent due to the lack of rain and the intense dry weather.
He said it mainly 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.
"We're hoping that the dry spell will not extend to (a) 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, he said a significant portion of its 1,700-hectare service area has so far been affected by the decreasing water supply.
The irrigation facility, which covers portions of Koronadal City and Lutayan town in Sultan Kudarat, has only served some 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 supplies.
The Banga RIS, which serves parts of Banga and Norala towns, currently supplies some 1,357 hectares but the water releases were rationed to only 50 percent of the service area, he said.
The Allah RIS Dam 1 has also experienced supply problems but has so far maintained its services to 5,388 hectares of farmlands in parts of Banga, Surallah and Sto. Niño towns, he said.
The official said its Dam 2, which serves Sto. Niño and Norala towns, is currently closed due to periodic maintenance and will not reopen until May.
For the communal irrigation systems (CIS), he said 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, which is spawned by the El Niño phenomenon, would extend until June or July, Tibang said a significant portion of the area's irrigated farms would be severely affected.
He said they have monitored at least 300 hectares of farmlands that were already drying up in parts of the 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 added.