THE newly inaugurated P993.3-million Barotac Viejo Small Reservoir Irrigation Project (BVSRIP) at Brgy. Nueva Invencion, Barotac Viejo, Iloilo is expected to irrigate 2,050 hectares of farmlands, benefitting almost 900 farmers in said municipality and neighboring towns.
The project of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), which includes the construction of a 27.65-meter Zoned Earthfill Dam and its appurtenant structures, was inaugurated on April 16, 2019.
NIA Administrator General Ricardo Visaya said the project would irrigate agricultural areas especially in the towns of Barotac Viejo and Banate during wet and dry season.
“This is a momentous accomplishment that will open the door for the continuing and expanding progress of the agricultural sector here in Iloilo. This is a really big help for the farmers,” Visaya said.
Since the dam can store 11.084 million cubic meters, the project will water 11 barangays in Barotac Viejo – California, La Fortuna, Natividad, Sto. Domingo, Bugnay, San Miguel, San Antonio, San Geronimo, San Lucas, Vista Alegre, and De la Peña.
Farmers in the nearby municipality of Banate specifically in the barangays of Merced, Carmelo, Taluc, Garangan, Bariga, Magtaloc, and Libertad will also benefit from the project.
Feliserio Natali, president of Barotac Viejo River Irrigation Federation of Irrigation System Irrigators’ Association Federation said the project would help them increase their production.
While the project is primarily intended for irrigation, fish culture, and flood control, acting SRIP manager Ferdinand G. Sales said the irrigation project has secondary goals such as generating aquaculture, tourism, and agro power.
During the inauguration, a Memorandum of Understanding was also signed between the NIA, Department of Agriculture (DA), Bureau of Fishery and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Department of Tourism (DOT) for an inter-agency collaboration for the proposed agriculture, fishery and eco-tourism site within the BVSRIP vicinity.
“Ten percent of the 50 square kilometers of the water reservoir will be allocated to fishery and is expected to generate 3, 442 metric tons of fish annually. We can establish restaurants and boating activities for the tourists to enjoy,” Visaya said.
The project, which started in 2014, seeks to enhance the standard of living of small farmers in the area, promote rural development through construction of small-scale impounding dams and irrigation facilities, and boost agricultural productivity and other incidental benefits. (Photos courtesy of DA-Western Visayas)