Angat Dam hits 200 meters, may reach full capacity by year end — PAGASA

Marje Pelayo   •   October 29, 2020   •   304

File photo of Angat Dam

MANILA, Philippines — Water level in Angat Dam further increased following days of rainfall from the onset of tropical cyclones.

As of 6:00 a.m. Thursday (October 29), Angat Dam’s water level is at 200.15 meters, a 0.5 meter increase from 199.65 meters yesterday.

According to state weather bureau PAGASA’s record, Angat’s water level has improved by about 20 meters this month of October brought about by a series thunderstorms and tropical cyclones that entered the country.

To date, Angat Dam needs only about 10 meters of rain to reach its maximum capacity.

Angat Dam is the main water source for domestic requirement in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

Meanwhile, the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) said water allocation to the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) will be increased from 44cms to 46cms but allocation for irrigation will be reduced from 30cms to 15cms.

Based on PAGASA’s projection, Angat’s water level may reach up to 212 meters by the end of December.

“Yes. For November ibinalik muna sa 46 cms ang MWSS and reduced ang NIA (National Irrigation Administration) from 30 to 15 cms at harvesting na sila,” said NWRB director Sevillo David Jr.

“Based on rainfall projections of PAGASA and prevailing La Niña period, aabutin ang normal high water level na 212 meters by end of December. We are closely monitoring developments,” he added. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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LPA to bring scattered rainshowers, thunderstorms over Metro Manila, parts of Luzon

Marje Pelayo   •   November 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) is monitoring a low pressure area (LPA) east of Northern Luzon.

Based on the agency’s 4:00 AM advisory Friday (November 27), the LPA was estimated in the vicinity of Bubulong Munti, Bulacan. 

This will bring cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms over Metro Manila. Central Luzon. CALABARZON, La Union, and Pangasinan.

Meanwhile, similar conditions will be experienced in areas of Caraga and Davao Region due to the prevailing easterlies.

Floods and landslides are highly possible in these areas during such weather condition, PAGASA warned.

Areas of Cordillera Administrative Region, Cagayan Valley and the rest of Ilocos Region may expect Cloudy skies with light rains brought about by the Northeast Monsoon while the areas of Bicol Region, MIMAROPA, Visayas, and the rest of Mindanao will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms due to the effects of the easterlies.

PAGASA said the LPA is less likely to develop into a tropical depression.

Probe starts on possible cause of Cagayan-Isabela flood

Marje Pelayo   •   November 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) maintained that prior to the entry of Typhoon Ulysses in the country on November 8, they were constantly reminding the public of its possible impact and the volume of rains that it might bring, similar to the previous weather disturbances that entered the country.

According to PAGASA Administrator Vicente Malano, they also forewarned the public that since the previous typhoons had already saturated the ground, expect the possibility of massive flash floods on the onset of Typhoon Ulysses.

“Ang sabi ko during the press conference, mag-ingat tayo dito dahil saturated na ang kalupaan at pagdating ni Ulysses…si Ulysses ay nasa 400 ang radius ng kanyang influence so kaya widespread talaga ang ulan na dinala niya [What I said during the press conference was to be vigilant and prepare because the ground was already saturated even before Ulysses. Ulysses’ influence was 400-kilometer radius so rainfall was really widespread],” Malano explained during the joint committee hearing on Tuesday (November 24) led by the House Committee on Agriculture and Food and Special Committee on North Luzon Growth Quadrangle.

The probe aims to determine the real cause of the worst flood in 40 years that submerged almost the entire Cagayan and Isabela provinces on November 11 in the aftermath of Typhoon Ulysses.

Many blamed the flood on water released from Magat Dam but according to the dam’s operator the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), all protocols regarding the release of water had been followed though the agency did not deny that it could have contributed to the deluge.

“Talagang matagal na iyong protocol. Ngayon lang natin nakita na it could have contributed to the flooding. Hindi naman namin na dinedeny dahil may tubig naman talagang lumabas [The protocol has been there a long time ago. It is only now that we realized it could have contributed to the flooding. We don’t deny that we released water (from the dam)],” said Ret/Gen. Ricardo Visaya, NIA Administrator.

“But hindi iyon talaga ang major reason or major caused ng flooding [But it was not the major reason or cause of the flooding],” he insisted saying they advised the communities six hours prior to the scheduled release of water on November 9 to give them time to prepare and, if possible, evacuate the area also in anticipation of the strong typhoon based on the information provided by PAGASA.

NIA explained that it is not only Magat River (where Magat Dam is located) but there are 20 other tributaries or rivers that bring water to the catch basin which is Cagayan River. 

In fact, Magat River brings only about 15% of water to Cagayan River.

Given this information, Bagong Henerasyon Partylist Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy asked the officials which among the government agencies are responsible now for projecting the potential impact or extent of hazards like the flash flood that happened in Cagayan and Isabela.

“Who analyzes the effect in the provinces where the dam is located or where flooding has occurred?” asked the lawmaker.

Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad of the Office of the Civil Defense said all member agencies of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) are well-represented every time they have meetings and that includes the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the one responsible for flood control in the country.

For its part, the DPWH said there was actually an existing masterplan for the Cagayan River flood control project that was established way back 2002 though it was not pushed through due to problems in funding.

“In this Cagayan, we have the master plan in 2002 and feasibility study however because of the magnitude cost during that time it was not pushed through for financing,” explained DPWH’s Project Director for Flood Control Management Cluster Ramon Ariola.

The DPWH is now planning to conduct dredging efforts in the Cagayan River as well as constructing six more dams on the upper area of the waterway.

The NDRRMC, meanwhile, is now in discussion over the creation of a committee that will focus on the management and safety of dams in the country.

In the next hearing, the joint committee seeks to hear from the River Basin Control Office, a sub-agency under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to speak its side on the issue. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)


Angat Dam has no role in Marikina flood — Usec. Solidum

Marje Pelayo   •   November 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Many speculations surfaced as to the massive flooding that submerged portions of Marikina and Pasig during the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses.

Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Undersecretary Renato Solidum explained in an interview with UNTV on Friday (November 29) what could have caused the deluge in Marikina and Pasig despite the fact that the volume of rains brought by Typhoon Ulysses was lesser than that of Typhoon Ondoy in 2009.

“Ang source ng tubig pagdating sa baha sa Marikina-Pasig river ay iyong ulan mismo na tatama sa Sierra Madre [The source of floodwater in Marikina-Pasig river would have been the rainfall that will hit the Sierra Madre],” said Solidum, who is also the Director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and  Seismology (PHIVOLCS).

“Talagang hiwalay po ang rivers na nag-de-drain sa Marikina River at sa Angat. In fact, usapin na rin ito noong panahon ni Ondoy. Kung matatandaan ninyo, ganoon din ang mga usapin pero hiwalay po talaga sila,” he added.

[Marikina River and Angat drain into two separate directions. In fact, this was the same issue during Ondoy. If you recall, this was the same issue but they are separate.]

Solidum explained that the water that is being released from Angat Dam usually flows towards Bulacan specifically the towns of Norzagaray, Angat, Bustos, San Rafael, Baliwag, Plaridel, Calumpit, Hagonoy, and Paombong; not, and never will reach, Marikina City.

National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) Dam Manager Engr. Conrado Sison Jr said they always make sure that the process of releasing excess water in dams is under careful control because they have to maintain a sufficient water supply for irrigation in view of the dry season.

“Hindi tayo basta-basta nagpapakawala ng tubig dahil iyan po ay mahalaga din po sa atin [We do not just release water considering its value],” he said.

“Kung nagkaroon tayo ng premature spilling din tapos wala ng darating na ulan parang tinapon lang natin yung tubig which is alam naman natin lalong lalo na dito sa area na ito eh kailangan din naman para sa domestic water supply at irrigation [If we there was premature spilling without expecting another rainfall, it’s like wasting water that could have been used for domestic supply and irrigation],” he added.

USec. Solidum believes that man-made activities could have worsened the situation like deforestation, uprooting of trees and quarrying that resulted in landslides and flash floods.

Madami na pong mga subdivision o settlement sa taas ng Marikina for example sa Rodriguez Rizal, San Mateo na ang epekto po nito imbes na yung tubig ulan pumasok sa baba sa lupa. Ito po ay gagapang ng mabilis kasi sementado na, aspaltado na at didiretso nang mas mabilis sa ilog,” Solidum said.

[There are a lot of subdivisions or settlement areas right above Marikina. For example, in Rodriguez and San Mateo in Rizal, the soil could no longer absorb the rainwater because the roads are already cemented. The water would tend to rapidly flow to the river.]

“Ngayon iyong  mga ilog hindi rin nababawasan ang lalim. Nagsi-silt po iyan dahil sa mga baha previously at mga basura. Sa mga factors pong iyan talagang bibilis po ang pagdating ng tubig sa ilog at biglang tataas ang tubig,” he added.

[Also, the depth of rivers do not change. The rivers silted up because of the previous floods and waste deposits. So from those factors, water will rapidly flow downstream and will cause a sudden increase in river water.]

Solidum added that the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses also coincided with the high tide conditions.

The experts said it is still important at present to work on restoring the rivers into their original carrying capacity and encourage tree planting to help prevent much worse incidents associated with the overflowing of rivers. MNP (with reports from Val Villaflor)

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