THE province of Bohol is not spared from dry spell and drought as the weak El Niño would last until next year, report quoted the weather agency Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) forecast. Bohol is already drought-affected along with the provinces of Albay, Batangas, Cavite, Masbate and Sorsogon in Luzon; Negros Oriental, Siquijor and Southern Leyte in the Visayas as well as Basilan, Maguindanao, Sarangani, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sulu in Mindanao, the report said.
“Pagasa defines drought as three consecutive months of way-below normal rainfall condition.”
Bohol is also on the verge of four-month dry spell along with the provinces as Isabela, Aurora, Batangas, Cavite, Rizal, Quezon, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Romblon, Albay, Catanduanes, Masbate and Sorsogon, all in Luzon; Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo and Negros Occidental all in Western Visayas (Region VI); Bohol, Negros Oriental, Siquijor, all in Central Visayas (Region VII); and Southern Leyte, in Eastern Visayas (Region VIII); and in Mindanao provinces of Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Southern Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, Basilan, Maguindanao and Sulu.
“Pagasa defines dry spell as three consecutive months of below-normal rainfall condition.”
Dry spell has already adversely affected the dried seaweeds production, report from Bien-Unido town said. In island of Hingotanan, seaweeds farmers are already woried of their harvest that they not be able to earn because their harvest are badly affected, the report said.
Reports reaching DYTR said that rice farmers in some hinterland towns expressed fears that the planting season next month might be delayed due to the dry spell.
But some barangays of Bilar town have already started to plant rice seeds and land preparation for planting within the following weeks.
In San Miguel town, some farmers here expressed concern over the Bayongan dam water supply which they said it’s already at its lowest as the next planting season is fast approaching, said one farmer in an interview. He said in vernacular that they’re worry since the water might not be enough to supply the needed water for plowing and other preparations such as “tagud.”
The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) has yet to say if the water level of the dam is in critical condition.
The provincial government has yet to conduct the planned cloudseeding. Officer-in-charge Larry Pamugas of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist said that cloudseeding would be done sometime in July when planting season starts despite the fact that prolonged dry spell has already affected agricultural products, not just rice.
Earlier, Engr. Florencio Padernal, administrator of the National Irrigation Administration assured farmer-irrigators of immediate implementation of the proposed upgrading of the Malinao dam in Pilar, Bohol.
The assurance came as farmer-irrigators have been claiming for the planned raising of the height of the irrigation facility in apparent bid to store more water in the earthfill type reservoir. He said that the upgrading of the dam will be done as soon as the detailed design is finalized. But he did not mention when the said design will be completed.
The National Economic Development Authority (Neda) chaired by P-Noy approved the upgrading project at a cost of PhP653 million “to double the impounding capacity of Malinao Dam in earthquake-stricken Bohol province to sufficiently irrigate unserved and underserved areas.”
Sec. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, who visited here recently, vowed to pitch support for Bohol’s quest for cloud seeding in hinterlands of Bohol where the big dams are drying up. Pangilinan is the presidential assistant for agriculture modernization. He graced the inauguration of training center and region 6 and 7 anniversary celebration of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).
In a bid to arrest the drying of big dams, officials are mulling for cloud seeding in El Niño-induced areas for possible rain. The proposed cloud-seeding activity to save rice lands from further destruction due to lack of water from irrigation dams.
Cloud seeding is a “technique of stimulating or enhancing precipitation by distributing dry ice crystals or silver iodide particles over developing storm clouds in a specific area of the atmosphere.”
Bohol has four major dams. Malinao in Pilar town with service area of 4,700 has.; Bayongan, San Miguel, 5,300 has.; Capayas, Ubay, 1,100 has.; and Talibon town, about 1,000 has. (rvo)