Dams not releasing water, Nueva Ecija officials say
CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija, Aug 8 (PIA) -- Nueva Ecija authorities have been warding off rumors that water is being released from dams in the province.
Governor Aurelio Umali and other provincial leaders took turns in announcing over radio station DWNE and Channel 48 that Pantabangan Dam will not release water anytime soon even Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pag-asa) in Cabanatuan expected southwest monsoon will continue to affect the province with heavy rains until Thursday.
Citing information from the National Irrigation Administration-Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation System (NIA-UPRIIS), Umali said rains failed to breach the spilling level of Pantabangan Dam.
Water level in Pantabangan is at 208.27 meters as of 6:32 a.m. on Thursday, August 8, very far from the 221-meter spilling level, NIA-UPRIIS Operations Manager Josephine Salazar said.
Opening gates in Pantabangan Dam is not done easily. It first requires evidence of possible overflow based on its own rain gauges and forecasts from Pag-asa ahead of time.
After informing the local government, Pantabangan Dam Weather Forecasting Division will make announcements eight hours before releasing water to give people in Rizal and other adjacent towns ample time to prepare or evacuate.
Umali said the people of Nueva Ecija need not to worry because Pantabangan Dam is known to be one of the safest in Luzon because of its disaster risk reduction features.
On the other hand, the overflow in Aulo Dam in Palayan City has minimal effect when the dam reached its 102-meter spilling level. As of 8 a.m., Wednesday, water reached 102.2 meters.
NIA-UPRIIS Division III Manager Jose Ariel Domingo also denied reports from text messages about a bridge allegedly sank by Aulo Dam.
The bridge, Domingo said, is actually a floodway which is intended for catching water overflowing from the dam.
Engineer Salazar downplayed the impact of Aulo Dam's possible spill over on Wednesday because nearby river system, Aulo River, is capable of containing it.
She said Aulo released water at the rate of 10 cubic meters per second.
Other local officials have joined in to counter rumors about other dams.
Lupao Mayor Richard Ramos likewise denied allegations from text messages that Macanae Dam, like Pantabangan, will release water.
He said Macanae Dam is undergoing rehabilitation and its holes are making impossible for rain to fill it up at this time.
As for other dams like the ones in Peneranda and Atate, NIA-UPRIIS has either closed or reduce the flow to prevent inundation in rice lands. (RMB/LP-PIA3 Nueva Ecija)
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