Rains enable farmers start planting rice
Heavy rains at night in the past week bailed out the dams from drying up to signal the start of the planting season.
Water level at Bayongan Dam- -one of the four major dams in Bohol- -already reached a few points above the critical level at 41 meters after dropping to 40.14 meters as of the May 31 monitoring.
Bayongan Dam elevation could go up to 152 meters when full.
Capayas Dam also reached close to its full capacity of 36.5 meters from 31.36 meters in May 31. Critical level at Capayas Dam is at 30 meters elevation, while it could go up to 36.5 meters when full.
Talibon Dam remained above the critical level of 21 meters, and now even higher from its last measure at 26.97 meters. Talibon Dam elevation could go up to 30 meters when full.
Malinao Dam elevation now reached close to its full capacity of 152 meters. It reached 150.11 meters as of May 31 monitoring, almost four meters above the critical level at 146.5 meters.
Because of the recent rains,Â Assistant Provincial Agriculturist Larry Pamugas said farmers in some towns have already started planting and land preparation when downpour experienced last week became heavier than in the last week of May.
In fact, rice farmers in Bilar and Batuan had already started planting, according toÂ Pamugas.
Rice fields in Batuan rely on rain, while those in Bilar rely on both rain and irrigation.
Farmers in Lila had started land preparation when it started raining hard last week.
The situation is different though in the first district where the rains were lighter.
The rice fields in the towns in Albur, Baclayon, Cortes and other towns in the first district remained dry, unlike those in the second and third districts where heavier rains were experienced.
Of the 47,000 hectares of rice fields in Bohol, around 24,000 hectares are irrigated, while 23,000 hectares are rainfed.
On Monday, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) will start releasing water from Malinao dam to the farmlands.
The P1.4-billion Malinao dam spanning 300 hectares in Pilar serves 5,000 hectares of rice fields in the town and the adjacent areas.
Belen Putong, operations manager at NIA-7, however, explained Malinao dam could not yet supply its entire service area yet.
Aside from collecting water from rain, Malinao dam is also a run-off the river type relying water from Wahig and Pamacsalan Rivers.
Putong said NIA-7 will prioritize areas located farther from Malinao Dam that had not been irrigated for a period of time during the drought.
NIA-7 targets to supply around 700 hectares of rice fields in Pilar and adjacent towns.
The Zamora dam in Talibon, the least affected by drought, had released water earlier by two weeks.
NIA-7 has no schedule yet when they could release water from Capayas dam in Ubay and Bayongan dam in San Miguel.