ILAGAN CITY, Isabela: In a bid to combat the effects of climate change such as flooding, a South Korean multi-million dollar irrigation water project called Pasa Dam in the northern part of Isabela is almost half-way to completion, against an extended target date in 2017.
The Pasa Small Reservoir Irrigation Project (PSRIP), a $21.7 million project in Barangay Pasa here, is a joint undertaking between the South Korean government, through Korea International Cooperation Agency (Koica), and the Philippines, through the National Irrigation Administration and the local government of Isabela.
Koica said the project is South Korea’s five-year program under the East Asia Climate Change Partnership “to address climate change and to bolster Green Growth in Asia.”
Isabela Governor Faustino Dy 3rd said the water project would help mitigate floods with its small water impounding or catchment basin features.
“Besides irrigating more farmlands in the province, the project is also aimed at reducing the impact of climate change and promoting water management in rural areas,” Dy said.
The project entails construction of a 34-meter high earth-filled dam across Pasa River, a reservoir with an active storage of 3.90 million cubic meters, with 5.93 kilometers of a main canal and 16.20 kilometers of lateral canals.
“Considering that northern Isabela is prone to floods, especially during the rainy season, the (Pasa Dam) project flood control system features are also very timely,” Dy said.
He added the Pasa Dam project would further fortify Isabela as the country’s leading agriculture province, which has kept the title as a top corn producer and second in rice production.
Provincial irrigation officer Ramon Fabros said the project is now 42 percent complete and is expected to irrigate 800 hectares of farmlands, covering the villages of Pasa, Santa Victoria, Fuyo, Morado and Minabang in Ilagan City, and should benefit 747 families in the province.
He said the project is supposed to be completed in 2016 but it was delayed due to typhoons and changes in contractors to build the project.
“This will contribute to the national food security target of the government through provision and improvement of irrigation and drainage infrastructures,” Fabros said.
The province of Isabela is the country’s third largest and hosts part of the Magat Dam, formerly Asia’s biggest rock-fill dam, a source of irrigation water and hydroelectric power.
Built in 1983, the aging Magat Dam has always been threatened by heavy siltation and the swelling of its major sources, such as the Ibulao River in Ifugao and the Magat River in Nueva Vizcaya during heavy downpour reaching above its critical and spilling water level.
Magat Dam irrigates more than 85,000 hectares of farmlands and also generates 360 megawatts of power for the Luzon grid.