CAUAYAN CITY, ISABELA: The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) said the water level at Magat Dam remains critical despite an increase in elevation on Sunday.
NIA’s instrumentation and forecasting officer Engineer Saturnino Tenedor said the dam’s water level climbed to 165.55 meters on Sunday compared to Wednesday’s record of 160.46 meters.
Tenedor said Sunday’s level is less than a meter above 160 meters critical level.
“[The water level] is still way below the normal 175 meters for the dam to fully maximize its operational capacity to continue providing power for the Luzon grid as well as irrigation for thousands of hectares of rice and corn lands in Isabela, Quirino and Cagayan,” Tenedor explained.
The Magat Dam is located along the Ifugao-Isabela border and irrigates at least 80,000 hectares of farmlands. It can generate some 380 megawatts of electricity for the Luzon grid.
The dam sourced its water from Ibulao River in Ifugao and from the headwaters and rivers in Nueva Vizcaya.
Tenedor said the continuous inflow of stored water from the dam’s major watershed areas brought by Typhoon Glenda has caused the steady increase of its water elevation.
Meanwhile, the dam’s power component has started operating at a reduced capacity due to the dam’s dwindling water reserves, according to the SN Aboitiz Power (SNAP).
SNAP officials said the Magat Dam’s latest power shutdown in March 2010 has affected the entire Luzon grid when its water level dropped to 152.7 meters.
Also in July 1991, this three-decade-old dam which was once Asia’s biggest power and irrigation facility recorded its all-time low of 149 meters water level.