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Pantabangan water level drop won't affect cropping season

The decrease in Pantabangan Dam's water level will not affect irrigration for the forthcoming wet cropping season in Central Luzon.

As of 6 a.m. Saturday, the water level of Pantabangan reached 194.86 meters and may dip further to 192 meters by the end of May, latest data from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) showed.

“However, that’s still unlikely to delay planting in Pantabangan’s service areas,” said PAGASA hydrologist Elmer Caringal in an interview Saturday.

He said Pantabangan Dam was able to provide irrigation water without delay last year even if the dam’s water level was lower compared to this year.

According to PAGASA, Pantabangan’s May 31, 2018 water level was at 181.52 meters only.

"Pantabangan Dam is big so even if this dam releases a large volume of water, the corresponding dip in water level there isn’t much,” said Caringal.

The expected rain this month in the watershed hosting the dam can help increase existing reserve and improve availability of water for irrigation, he noted.

PAGASA forecasts the watershed to receive near-normal rainfall this May and June, when Central Luzon's wet cropping season generally begins.

Citing data from the Department of Agriculture (DA) on its report on El Nino’s effects on Friday, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said the damage to agriculture is estimated at PHP7.96 billion.

The DA said the phenomenon has affected 247,610 farmers across the country as of April 24. (PNA)

Catherine Teves / PNA