The National Irrigation Administration-Cordillera Administrative Region (NIA - CAR) urges farmers to schedule irrigation on their farms in the national irrigation systems due to the effect of dry spell.
According to Engr. Noly Sabado, head of operations section of NIA- Kalinga Irrigation Management Office (IMO), due to dwindling water supply, NIA implemented rotation of water delivery to be able to supply the service areas especially those located at tail end areas of irrigation systems. At the Upper Chico River Irrigation System (UCRIS) in Kalinga, the required discharge of the main canal is 29 cubic meter per second (cm/s) but because of the dry spell the available water that entered the diversion intake was only around 23 cm/s on March 13. However, because of the rain during the weekend, water diverted rose to 26 cm/s as of March 18, but still below the required water discharge.
Engr. Liza Jane Chugsayan, chief of the Operations, Institutional and Equipment Section of NIA- CAR, hopes that there will be continuous rain to sustain the water discharge requirement of the canal so that the service areas of the national systems can be irrigated especially that the rice crops are currently in the reproductive stage.
Aside from the water delivery rotation as one of the mitigating measures, farmers can apply water-saving technology which particularly includes the alternate wetting and drying (AWD), which involves the installation of observation well in rice paddies to monitor the status of field water above the ground and within the root system. In this process, rice fields are flooded to lesser extent, allowed to try to a predetermined level, and then subsequently reflooded.
Farmers may also plant short gestating crop varieties, repair the damage irrigation canals for free flow of water and minimize seepage, repair and maintenance of all control structures, plant vegetables and other crops that do not require too much water.
Irrigators’ Associations are advised to closely coordinate with the NIA on the monitoring of the effects of El Nino and water delivery concerns.//Edna Lenomta/BSU Intern