San Roque dam halts power production, farmlands
FARMLANDS WITHOUT NIA IRRIGATION
THE San Roque Power Corporation (SRPC) ceased its power production completely starting Saturday, July 17.
This was confirmed by Engr. Cipriano Yabut, chief of the Agno-Sinocalan and San Fabian River Irrigation System (RIS) under the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), through a phone call on Friday afternoon, June 16, when the dam already reached 225.6 meters above sea level (masl). The dam’s normal high-water level 280 masl.
He said the SRPC’s suspension will remain indefinite until the dam’s water returns to sufficient level.
The dam may resume its operations once the water level goes up to 226 masl, but the SRPC will likely wait until the water level reaches satisfactory levels to enable it to operate eight hours a day.
“Kahit umulan po nang malakas, at malampasan na yung 226 [water level], iipunin muna ng dam ang tubig para tuluy-tuloy ang operation nito”, said Yabut.
Normally, the San Roque Dam produces 115 MW of power over eight hours of operation.
The SRPC’s pause in operations will seriously impact on the 32,000 hectares of farmlands in 14 towns and cities in Pangasinan, because NIA’s water supply for irrigation will also be cut off.
The dam’s closure, according to Yabut, is necessary, because the turbines will be damaged if the level of water is low.
NIA has contacted local government units and farmers and explained the situation.
The San Roque Dam also irrigates 32,500 hectares of farm lands spread across the towns of San Manuel, Asingan, Villasis, Laoac, Binalonan, Manaoag, Sta. Barbara, Malasiqui, Mapandan, Natividad, San Nicolas, San Quintin, and Sta. Maria, plus the City of Urdaneta.
Presently, only 15,000 hectares have been occupied, while the remaining are under preparation for the next cropping season.
The San Roque Dam receives its supply of water upstream, from the waters also released by the Binga and Ambuklao Dams.
Meanwhile, Assistant Provincial Agriculturist Nestor Batalla, said the provincial government has given water pumps to several farmers and farmer groups in the province, which would help once the water supply from the dam is cut off.
Batalla also recommended farmers in the meantime to plant crops which require less water. (Eva Visperas/Ahikam Pasion)
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