Abnormally low rainfall and the widening of the service area of the Malinao Dam have caused water level at the P3.6 Billion Bayongan Dam in San Miguel town to remain low, said a National Irrigation Administration (NIA) official amid concerns over the facility’s reported dwindling irrigation capacity.
According to NIA 7 manager Wilson Lopez, Bayongan Dam is largely dependent on the Pilar-based Malinao Dam but the latter has started to cater to more areas which were not originally served by the dam.
The Malinao Dam supposedly channels water to the Bayongan Dam but the additional service areas have lessened the amount of water that reaches the smaller dam.
“Naging ganito ang problema natin designed para sa specific area pero madaming napadagdag na service area na hindi kasama sa original plan so nagkaroon ng dagdag ng requirement sa tubig,” said Lopez.
The below normal amount of rainfall in the past year have also caused water levels at both dams to remain low.
“Gawa ng climate change, mahina ang dating ng ulan. Nung 2018, malakas ang tubig ng Malinao Dam, ngayon lang 2019 talagang napakahina ng ulan, talagang di normal ang situation ng rainfall ngayon lang dumadating ang ulan,” said Lopez.
San Miguel Mayor Virgilio Mendez confirmed that the Bayongan Dam has not been able to cater to its service areas due to lack of water from the over decade-old facility which he noted has served the municipality and nearby towns well until recently.
He said that only “30 percent” of farmers supposedly served by the dam have been able to plant rice in last three planting seasons.
“Mao ni ang dakong suliran diri sa among distrito ilabina ning Bayongan Dam mo irrigate unta ni og 2,000 hectares mo abot ni sa lungsod sa Trinidad, Ubay ug dunay parte sa Dagohoy,” the mayor said.
“Sa akong nasayran sa mga ni-aging administration, gaawas-awas maning tubig pero lately mura’g di na man maayo ang dagan,” he added.
According to Lopez, they have started to implement “modifications” to the Malinao Dam to boost its capacity to channel water to the Bayongan Dam.
He said that the Malinao Dam is being elevated to increase volume of water in the facility and improve water flow.
“Tinataas natin ang elevation ng height ng Malinao Dam para magkaroon tayo ng dagdag na capacity, pag lumaki ang volume ng tubig sa Malinao, pag tumaas ang height ng dam, madadagdagan ang tubig na pupunta sa Bayongan Dam,” he added.
He assured that the construction for the dam’s improvements is ongoing but did not indicate the project’s target completion date or when water level in the facility is expected to rise.
The NIA has also coordinated with the Department of Environment of Natural Resources to prohibit logging in the dams’ vicinity as it would also affect the water supply of the facilities which rely on rainfall and watershed areas.
The Bayongan Dam was established in 2007 during the terms of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the late former governor Erico Aumentado as part of the Bohol Irrigation Project Stage 2.
It was seen to boost Bohol’s bid to become the rice of bowl of Central Visayas. (A. Doydora)