RAMON, Isabela: Heavy rains brought by Tropical Storm Karen (international codename: Sanba) have raised Magat dam’s water level near its maximum and spilling level that can cause flooding in low-lying areas in Isabela, Quirino and Cagayan provinces.
Engineer Wilfredo Gloria of the National Irrigation Administration-Magat River Integrated Irrigation System (NIA-MARIIS) has confirmed the water level at the Magat dam reservoir rose to 187.93 meters on Friday.
Gloria said the water level at present is only 5.07 meters near its maximum and spilling level of 193 and 2.07 meters below its desired level of 190.
He added that NIA-MARIIS is maintaining an outflow of water by 230 cubic meters per second (CMS), lower than an inflow of 295 CMS by 65 CMS.
“This is to maintain a comfortable level of the Magat reservoir to accommodate the expected rainfall brought about by the incoming tropical storm,” Gloria said.
Besides, there is a need for SN Aboitiz Power-Magat (SNAP-Magat), which owns and operates the 360-megawatt Magat Hydroelectric Power Plant (MHEPP), to maintain and maximize power generation, he added.
“As a preparatory measure for the coming of Tropical Storm Karen, we allow SNAP-Magat to maximize their power generation by letting them use water more than the irrigation diversion requirement (IDR),” Gloria said.
Located at the border of Ramon, Isabela and Alfonso Lista, Ifugao, the 1983-built rock-filled Magat dam also supplies irrigation water to approximately 85,000 hectares (210,00 acres) of farmland in Isabela and Quirino.
“We are optimistic that we will have enough water supply to support the next cropping season,” Gloria said.
He explained that the normal water level of 175 meters is needed to maintain a sufficient supply of irrigation water to farmlands while the level of 160 meters is the minimum operational level for the Magat dam to continue generating power.
In July 1991, the Magat dam reservoir recorded its all-time low level of 149 meters.
LEANDER C. DOMINGO