NIA sets closure of 5 irrigation systems in South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat

February 15, 2016 11:40 pm 

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Feb. 15 — The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) will close down anew in the next three months five major irrigation systems in parts of South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat provinces to facilitate their repair and rehabilitation.

Engr. Orlando Tibang, irrigation supervisor of NIA-South Cotabato, said the closure is part of the agency’s annual maintenance program for the area’s irrigation facilities, which serve a combined 20,613.34 hectares of farmlands.

He said they will initially implement the shutdown on Tuesday, Feb. 16, for dams 1 and 2 of the Ala River Irrigation System (RIS).

Dam 1 serves 5,432 hectares of farm areas, mostly palay, while dam 1 covers 9,113 hectares or a total of 14,548 hectares.

Some 10,548.63 hectares of the service or program area are in South Cotabato while the remaining 3,999.37 hectares are in Sultan Kudarat.

Tibang said they have set the closure of the Marbel and Banga RIS, which covers some 6,065.34 hectares by the last week of March.

The Marbel-Banga RIS covers 2,545.93 hectares while the Marbel 1 and 2 serves 1,878.15 and 1,641.26 hectares, respectively.

“The closure is set for at least three months and we will start the releases or reopening of the dams by the last week of May,” Tibang said in a media forum.

The official said they will utilize the cut-off period to repair and rehabilitate the dams of the five irrigation systems as well as their line canals.

He said some of the area’s irrigation facilities are quite old and need repairs as well as other maintenance works.

Tibang explained that they have been implementing the irrigation closure in the last five years and it is already a part of the area’s cropping calendar.

He said they properly informed farmers and local officials about the move through a series of engagements since October.

Tibang said they set the closure in the summer season as the area’s irrigation supplies are usually limited during the period.

“We also adopted it to compel our farmers to follow the area’s cropping calendar and ensure the proper observance of synchronized farming,” he said.

He added that synchronized farming or planting will help farmers avoid crop losses due to weather conditions and control the emergence of destructive pests. (PNA)

LAP/AVE

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