Thursday, April 21, 2016

Increasing Malinao dam holding
capacity, priority over de-silting

TAGBILARAN CITY, April 19, (PIA) –More than the reported need for dredging the allegedly heavily silted Malinao Dam to increase its water holding capacity, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) thinks of something more proactive.

NIA 7 Regional Director Mario Sande, at the recent Kapihan sa PIA revealed that the primary intervention NIA is pursuing is not much of the de-silting the dam, but rather on increasing the dam height by about two meters.

The move would increase the farm irrigation capacity to 470 hectares more.

On the other hand, de-silting the Malinao dam, according to farmers, could disturb the dam floor and reopen a hole that has been accordingly plugged to stop the water from draining out.

The proposals to de-silt the dam came amidst forecasts of a strong El Nino this year.

Malinao, which holds five million cubic meters of water irrigates a total of 3,500 hectares, a few hundred hectares short of its initial target of 4,740 hectares, according to director Sande.

Diminishing water flow from its watersheds and siltation has drastically rendered the dam’s water impounding capacity less efficient, NIA said.

Meanwhile, by increasing the dam height, the current holding capacity of the dam increases by three million cubic meters, or a total of 8 million cubic meters, Director Sande said at the forum which was held at the new NIA conference room in Dao.

The Malinao Dam, notably Bohol’s biggest artificial inland body of water collected from nearby watersheds is just one of the four major irrigations systems Bohol farmers are benefitting.

Through a visual presentation during the Bisita Opisina of the Association of United Development Information Officers (AUDIO) in Bohol, NIA authorities also said by increasing the dam height, the move would mean sacrificing about 50 hectares of farmlands which would be submerged.

NIA through Director Sande added that Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) has prepared a feasibility study and detailed engineering work for the proposed plan to increase the dam height.

The plan was for KOICA to fund the dam refurbishment, he continued.

But recent developments in the country’s economy shelved foreign funded projects over local funding, NIA’s director who has extensive assignments in Mindanao irrigation systems bared.

When that happened, KOICA turned over the proposal to NIA, while local experts studied the feasibility and its design.

From the design, a total revamp has been suggested by experts, and a P600 million is now in to start off the new project, Sande shared.

Over this development, NIA 7 which holds its regional office in Bohol, hopes that initial phase of the project could be implemented in the 2nd to third quarter of this year. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

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