NIA, water board’s help sought to save Casecnan River

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BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya: The Federation of Bugkalot tribe is seeking the intervention of government water management agencies to stop an American water and energy firm from drying up the marine-rich Casecnan River affecting their source of livelihood. Rosario Camma, chieftain of the Bugkalot tribe federation covering the provinces of Quirino, Aurora and Nueva Vizcaya, said they are appealing for the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) through the National Water Regulatory Board to help stop the California Energy (CalEnergy) from “siphoning water excessively” from the river. Alfonso Castañeda town hosts the giant $580-million CalEnergy-operated Casecnan Multi-purpose Irrigation Power Project, a hydroelectric facility composed of a power plant and two impounding dams connected by a pair of 26-kilometer tunnels from Alfonso Castañeda’s Casecnan and Taan Rivers to Pantabangan Dam in Nueva Ecija. Camma said one of the preconditions in a Memorandum of Agreement between the Bugkalots, NIA and CalEnergy is to retain at least 10-20 percent of the Casecnan River’s water supply to sustain the life of its marine resources. “But what is happening now is contrary to what had been agreed upon,” she said.

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