NIA-CAR reschedules the irrigation cut-off of the Upper Chico River Irrigation System (UCRIS) from March 20, 2018 to April 15, 2018 to save 1500 hectares of standing rice crops.

Engr. Patrick Resurreccion, Kalinga-Irrigation Management Office (KIMO) Acting Division Manager, stated that the rearrangement was agreed upon during the two-day meeting and consultation with the Tabuk-Pinukpuk Federation of Irrigators’ Association and Quezon-Mallig Federation of Irrigators’ Association held on March 13 and March 14, 2018 respectively in Kalinga.

According to Resurreccion, the irrigation cut-off will affect the irrigated areas in Tabuk, Kalinga and Quezon, Isabela if it will push through on the scheduled date on March 20.

The cut-off was supposedly scheduled from March 20 to June 30 to give way for the construction period.  The delay from March 20 to April 15 will allow the rice crops to be irrigated until terminal drainage which are still in their reproductive stage until terminal drainage.

The dry cropping usually starts in November but this was moved earlier in October because of the scheduled continuation of the Participatory Irrigation Development Project (PIDP). This was earlier disseminated to the farmers and various Irrigators’ Association in the system so they can start planting earlier than the usual. However, according to Engr. Liza Chugsayan of NIA-CAR, some farmers hesitated on planting earlier because the flowering stage will fall in the month of January and February. These are the coolest months and the weather would negatively affect the rice production.

Further, the World Bank, as the funding institution of PIDP has yet to issue its go-signal for the NIA to issue the awards to the winning contractors. Without the go signal, the contractors cannot proceed with the rehabilitation works of irrigation facilities with the irrigation system which are supposed to be done within the duration of the scheduled cut-off.

“Even without the PIDP, we have to conduct a cut-off to monitor the status of irrigation facilities. This is to take direct action on facilities that need immediate repairing like crack and silted canals and to prevent further damages within the cut-off period,” Chugsayan added.

In addition, there were program works inside the canal prism that were suspended since they are underwater works which require water delivery interruption.// Mirabel Suligan/BSU-DevCom Intern