The cloud seeding operations (CSOs) that were started last Thursday afternoon have brought rains over the watershed areas in the province of Bohol.
Leon Parac, Jr., cloud seeding focal person, said that as of yesterday there were already four seeding flights over Malinao Watershed areas of the slated 45-hour CSOs.
The CSOs are sponsored by the Provincial Government of Bohol (PGBh), Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Soil and Water Management (DA-BSWM), DA-Regional Field Office (DA-RFO7), Philippine Air Force (PAF), and Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA).
Parac said the first round of CSOs which will be carried out until November 18 using 15-200 microns of vacuum dried salt has produced light to moderate artificial rains over the municipalities of Pilar, where the Malinao Dam is located, Dagohoy, Carmen, Batuan, Corella, Balilihan, Tagbilaran, Cortes, Loay, Albur and Sikatuna.
The second round using 30 microns of powder salt will be conducted from November 19 to November 27, 2018, he added.
Parac explained that after the 45-hour CSOs have been completed, another 42 hours of CSOs sponsored by the PGBh will be conducted.
The aircraft from Royhle Air Way Charter Inc. based in Dumaguete City has been used in the operations being piloted by Captain Madhu Puliyankalath and Captain Rahul Nair.
Capt. Puliyankalath said an average of one hour and 15 minutes have been consumed in one seeding flight.
Puliyankalath emphasized that the salt can be dispensed over seedable cloud, below the cloud, in the cloud and cloud-side relative to wind direction.
Engr. Corazon D. Ditarro from BSWM who manages the CSO Bohol Command Center based in Tagbilaran City Airport said the PGBh, PAF, PAG-ASA and BSWM ensures that every seeding flight could produce artificial rains to the target watershed areas.
Ditarro said that in the operations, the PAG-ASA through Robert Z. Quinto, Team Leader, Engineering Group, PAG-ASA’s Cloud Seeding Operation-Bohol is adopting a science-based approach by utilizing PAG-ASA’s state-of-the-art tools such as Doppler radar and radiosonde technology to monitor the development and movement of potentially seedable clouds.
As such, PAG-ASA has been conducting upper air observation by releasing a weather balloon every 7:30 a.m. from Nov. 9 to 28.
Quinto said in his letter to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) who also asked permission or clearance to release weather balloon that the conduct of CSO in Bohol is in response to the request of the PGBh due to water shortages in the most areas of the province which poses significant threats to agriculture.
Gov. Edgar M. Chatto as early as August this year wrote to PAG-ASA and BSWM humbly requesting to allocate funds for the conduct of CSOs aside from the P2.4 million approved allocation from the PGBh for the 42-hour CSOs after the PAG-ASA forecasted that in the last quarter of 2018 and early next year Bohol has been among of the provinces that would be affected by El Niño.
Gov. Chatto wants to ensure that the Boholano rice farmers could plant rice in the next dry cropping season. The intervention, among many objectives, is also expected to help retain the title for Bohol as Rice Granary of Central Visayas. (Atoy Cosap)