Wednesday, August 7, 2013

SP directs NIA-AARIIP to submit a report on the status of irrigation projects in the province

Lingayen --- “Prepare a report and tell this august assembly what you’ve been trying to say with finality and totality.” This was demanded by Board Member Ranjit Shahani to Engr. Reynaldo Mencias, Project Manager of the National Irrigation Administration – Agno River Integrated Irrigation Project (NIA-ARIIP), during the August 5 regular session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, here. The move was necessary to determine the status of the irrigation component projects in the province and to further elucidate the funding of the Php3.8 billion re-regulating pond built at the estuary of the Agno river in San Manuel. The NIA-ARIIP opened on July 23 the west bank gate of a 68-hectare irrigation water reservoir below the San Roque hydro-electric dam and started releasing irrigation waters to more than 12,000 hectares of rice lands in central Pangasinan. The reservoir at the mouth of the Agno River was designed to hold 5.5 million cubic meters. The news media, however, reported last week that the east gate of the pond designed to divert water from Agno to eastern Pangasinan remained closed after the NEDA put on hold the release of funds for the building of a 10-kilometer main canal from the reservoir to irrigation canals going to eight towns in Shahani’s district. Relative to this, board member Danilo Uy asked Engr. Mencias to address problems resulting from road widening in Urdaneta City that affected irrigation canals in the city. “Bago kayo mag-road widening, dapat may gawin kayong alternatives sa mga daanan ng tubig papunta sa mga farmlands, hindi ‘yung tambak kayo nang tambak,” he said. In response, Assistant Project Manager of NIA-ARIIP Ceferino Sta. Ana said the DPWH is responsible on the road widening. The NIA-ARIIP is studying plans on how to restore the affected irrigation canals and drainage systems,” he added. Towards the end, BM Uy asked Mencias “to check on the irrigation canals in the districts under their management so that farmers may know which are functioning and not-functioning.” With the re-regulating pond which stores volumes of water discharged by the San Roque dam, the province is expected to at least double its rice, corn and vegetable production with irrigation water made available yearround.. Aside from Pangasinan, San Manuel and Moncada in Tarlac and Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija will get irrigated if the Lower Agno River Irrigation System under the ARIIP project will be completed. During the launching, Mencias told newsmen that in addition to the P420 million funds allotted to build the canal that sucks water from the east bank gate of the water reservoir that was suspended, the project will need another P2.2 billion more to irrigate another 12,000 hectares more in eight eastern Pangasinan towns, the towns of Bautista and Alcala in the third district and the towns in Tarlac and Nueva Ecija. BM Liberato Villegas also stirred the attention of Engr. Frida Nidoy, Chief of NIA in San Fabian, to check on reports that the structure of the line canals in San Fabian which were recently built but were said to be breaking down.(PIO/Mark Gerry Naval Oblanca)

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