Water levels in the province’s major dams are still far from critical level even amid the official onset of El Niño early this month which is expected to cause dry spells in most parts of the country, a National Irrigation Administration (NIA) 7 said.
Engineer Maria Autida, operations chief of NIA 7, said on Thursday that water levels of the Malinao Dam in Pilar, Capayas Dam in Ubay, Bayongan in San Miguel and Talibon Dam in Talibon were still at “95 percent elevation” or near spill level.
According to Autida, the dams accumulated water due to continued rains in the previous weeks despite the presence of El Niño.
“Naa siya sa brim sa spill level kay although nag declare adtong July 4 na Niño na g’yud ta and even before that diha nay mga advisories nakadawat pa man gihapon ta og mga uwan and with that, nakapundo pa pud ta og mga tubig so mao na diha pay times na nag spill g’yud siya,” said Autido.
However, Autida projected a significant drop in water levels by the start of 2024 as the El Niño is seen to persist until the first quarter of next year.
She noted that dams are supposed to accumulate water this wet season but the expected decrease in rainfall will lead to lower water levels for utilization in next year’s dry season.
“Beacuse of decreased rainfall naa g’yud tay ma observe sa pagkagamay sa atong pag store og tubig mao na among tan-aw karon, we will be affected during the dry [season] in 2024,” said Autida.
Autida said round 50 to 80 percent of areas serviced by the province’s major dams will not be irrigated in the “worst-case scenario” in terms of the El Niño’s effects through dry spells or droughts.
“Wala pay apparent threats karon but then nagsige pa man ta’g patubig and based on forecast mag below normal ang Cebu which is duol ra nato and by December naa na ta sa first stage sa dry condition because nagsugod na og decrease ang rainfall,” said Autida. (A. Doydora)