Tarlac’s P13-B mega dam project underway

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TARLAC CITY: The National Irrigation Administration (NIA)-Tarlac expressed high hopes that the P13.37-billion mega dam project is would be completed despite delays in its construction.

NIA-Tarlac’s new Balog-Balog Multi-Purpose Project (BBMP) Phase II project manager John Celeste during the turnover ceremony recently said he expects full cooperation of proponents to realize the project.

Celeste replaced Lauro Ballesteros who is now at the Tarlac-Zambales Irrigation Management Office.

Citing the significance of the BBMP to the farmers and the people of Tarlac and neighboring provinces, Celeste noted the capabilities of NIA-Tarlac’s manpower crucial to the success of the project.

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“I am surrounded by brilliant and clear-thinking men that is why I am confident that our plans will be on smooth sailing,” he said.

Among the reasons for the delay of the project were the reported dispute between the agency and the local government unit of host town San Jose and the lack of requirements to pursue it. But NIA-Tarlac officials said hindrances have been eliminated.

The 105.5–meter high dam with three cascading sections each at 25 meters high and a crest length of 1.4 kilometers will have a storage capacity of 560 million cubic meters and occupy 28,076 hectares as watershed and is eyed to irrigate more than 34,000 hectares of agricultural lands.

The new irrigation facility was designed to irrigate a wide area of agricultural lands in the province of Tarlac with target completion of construction in three years.

To benefit from the irrigation system are the towns of Paniqui, Pura, Ramos, Victoria, Gerona, San Jose, La Paz, Capas, Concepcion and Tarlac City.

The NIA pointed out that the dam is projected to increase rice production by nearly 178 percent from 126,480 metric tons to 350,980 metric tons that will support at least 23,000 farmers and the rice per capita consumption of Tarlac residents as well as provide inland fish production.

It will also generate at least 43.5 megawatts of electricity through a hydro-electric facility, it said.

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