Cloud seeding awaited to water Bohol farmlands

STILL DRIED-UP BAYONGAN DAM. Engr. Erwin Reños (left) of the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) and Leon Parac, Jr. (center) of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) take a break at the Crops and Productivity Division – OPA under division chief Gertrudes Fuentes after conducting a pre-cloud seeding assessment and site validations at the four major dams and other agricultural areas in Bohol last Tuesday and Wednesday. Assessment revealed that the rains experienced last week did not elevate water levels at Bayongan Dam in San Miguel, Malinao Dam (Pilar), Capayas Dam (Ubay) and Talibon Dam (Talibon). Recommendations pointed out the need to conduct cloud seeding operations to save the standing crop and ensure rice planting in the next dry cropping season. Photos courtesy of ENGR. ERWIN REÑOS & LEON PARAC, JR.

In order to save the thousand hectares of standing crop at the rain-fed areas and to ensure Boholano farmers could plant rice in the next dry cropping season, the cloud seeding operations (CSO) must be conducted the soonest possible time.

This was the statement issued by Engr. Erwin Reñosof the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) after conducting the two-day pre-cloud seeding assessment and site validation at the four major dams and other agricultural areas in Bohol last Tuesday and Wednesday.

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The four major dams are Bayongan Dam in San Miguel, Malinao Dam (Pilar), Capayas Dam (Ubay), and the Talibon Dam in Talibon.

Engr. Reños was accompanied by Leon Parac Jr. of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) during the assessment and site validations. It was found out that water elevations of the four major dams are near critical level.

They said that the Bayongan Dam has receded water level to about ten meters with only a meter towards critical level.

Reños and Parac said the experienced light-to-moderate rain last week has not elevated water levels of the four dams.

They also said that farmers in most rain-fed areas in Bohol could not plant rice and that same problem could be experienced in the next cropping by November if there are no interventions by the government to produce artificial rain. As per forecast by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA), the country will experience El Niño towards the last quarter of this year.

Parac identified the rain-fed areas in the province where farmers could not transfer the rice seedlings for planting this wet cropping season. Among these towns are Catigbian, Corella, Balilihan, Sikatuna, Tubigon, Calape, Clarin, Buenavista, Talibon, Mabini, San Miguel and Carmen.

Reños said that now is the right time to conduct CSO while there are still seedable clouds to which vacuum dried fine salt will be dropped into during seeding flight.

He disclosed that the BSWM had already downloaded the amount of P2.5 million to the Department of Agriculture – Regional Field Office (DA-RFO) 7 to be used to conduct the CSO in the provinces of Central Visayas with a fulltime seeding flight of 42 hours.

The Provincial Government of Bohol through Gov. Edgar M. Chatto while in the process of preparing the Work and Financial Plan (WFP) and Project Procurement Management Plan (PPMP) for the release of P2.4 million allocation from the province for the conduct of CSO, had formally sent letter request to DA-RFO7 and BSWM to set aside an allocation as additional funds.

They said the remaining water in dams cannot suffice for land preparation in next the cropping season. (Atoy Cosap)



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