February 18, 2018, 2:20 am
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NIA OKs construction of 2 irrigation systems

The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) has approved the construction of two irrigation systems in Luzon and Visayas.

Ricardo Visaya, NIA administrator, said construction of Bulo Earth fill dam in San Miguel, Bulacan and its appurtenant structures pegged at P632 million under the small reservoir irrigation project will cover 570 hectares of agricultural lands.

Visayaalso gave the go signal for the construction of two diversion dams of Aklan River Irrigation System in Panay Island that will generate additional 594 hectares of new areas to the existing service area of 3,916 hectares currently being irrigated by the facility.

The P370 million irrigation project is set to benefit seven municipalities: Banga, Kalibo, New Washington, Malinao, Lezo, Makato and Numancia. Also part of the contract is the supply, delivery, installation and commissioning of steel gates.

Last month, Visaya also approved nine memoranda of understanding (MOU) to six hydropower developers which gave them permission to conduct feasibility study on the development of proposed power plants within several NIA irrigation systems.

As stipulated in the MOU, the feasibility study is at no cost to NIA and has anon- extendable term of one year from effectivity. It will also not vest preferential or exclusive right to the developers for the implementation of the project upon completion of the study.

“NIA will not spend anything here. Our irrigation systems will also not be damaged since part of the MOU is that developers shall not remove, displace, destroy any improvement during the course of the study,” Visaya said recently.

Among the developers granted the MOU were C Squared Prime Commodities Corp. which is interested in putting up conventional hydroelectric power plant (HEPP) in Agno river irrigation system in Pangasinan; PhilCarbon, Inc. which intends to develop a 600 kiloWatts HEPP along Maris Magat F in Cordon, Isabela; and Iraya Energy Corp. which proposes to develop a 1-megawatt (MW) HEPP along Maris (South) Main Canal in Ramon, Isabela.

Other developers were Matuno River Development Corp. which plans to develop an 8 MW run-of-river mini-hydro project along Matuno river in Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya; Tokyo Electric Power Services Co., Ltd. which aims to develop a power plant along the Bayongan diversion chute in Ubay, Bohol; and DA Green Power Consultancy which proposes to install Helios Powerball along Balingasag Canal, Daguitan RIS Canal, and Ormoc BAO RIS Canal in Misamis Oriental, Tacloban, and Leyte, respectively.

Visaya is optimistic of optimizing the potential of NIA’s existing irrigation systems as eco-tourism destinations paired with hydropower plants in all potential irrigation sites owned and managed by the agency.

At present, there are 357 potential hydropower sites identified by NIA in its irrigation sites which, upon development, will provide electricity to far-flung communities in hopes of boosting economic activities.
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