NIA, nakahanda na sa posibleng maging epekto ng El Niño

UNTV News   •   March 14, 2015   •   3544

MANILA, Philippines – Bahagya lamang ang nakikitang posibleng maging epekto ng El Niño phenomenon sa agrikultura sa bansa.

Ayon sa National Irrigation Administration (NIA), ini-adjust na nila ang timing ng pagtatanim o cropping calendar at pattern.

“Kung minsan kung pwede na kaming magstart ng late May, nagstart na kami para pagdating ng February or March konti na lang yung kailangan namin sa tubig,” pahayag ni Pilipina Bermudez, dept. manager ng NIA Public Affairs & Information.

Bukod pa dito ang pamamahagi ng mga shallow tube wells na kayang magpatubig ng 4-5 ektarya ng palayan.

“Ito’y binibigay namin doon sa mga areas na nandoon sa dulo ng aming mga irrigation systems na mahirap abutin ng tubig,” ani Bermudez.

Iniiwasan naman ng ahensya ang cloud seeding dahil malaki ang gastos sa proseso.  Ayon kay Bermudez, “Isang lipad lang ng eroplano eh isang milyon, so as much as possible ina-avoid namin yan na magka-cloud seeding extreme na lang yun pag nag-cloud seeding kami.”

Ngayong tag-araw ay mahigit sa 15-libong ektarya ng sakahan ang hindi kasama sa mapapatubigan ng NIA dahil sa mababang lebel ng tubig sa Pantabangan Dam.

Ngunit ang ibang magsasaka ay nagbabaka sakali pa rin na makapagtanim kahit na hindi sila kasama sa patubig.

“Yung iba talaga nagpupumilit kasi kung baga bread and butter nila yung pananim nila eh. Sinasabi nila eto lang yung pinagkukunan namin so makikipagsapalaran kami,” pahayag pa ni Bermudez.

Sa datos ng NIA, nasa 3.1M ektarya ng sakahan ang dapat na mapatubigan sa bansa, subalit nasa 1.7M ektarya pa lamang ang may maayos na irigasyon.  Ito ang accomplishment ng ahensya sa loob ng 52 taon ng pagkakatatag nito.

Nakadepende sa pondong ibibigay sa ahensya ang dami ng mga ektaryang kanilang mapapatubigan kada taon.

Noong nakaraang taon ay nasa 12-libong ektarya naman ang mga bagong sakahan na napatubigan.

Ayon sa NIA, sa panahon naman ng administrasyon Aquino ay mas malaking pondo ang kanilang natatanggap.

(Rey Pelayo / UNTV News)

COVID-19 epidemic in Japan raises public concern about upcoming Olympics

UNTV News   •   March 2, 2020

The COVID-19 outbreak in Japan has triggered division in public opinion over whether the 2020 Olympics which is scheduled to be held in July could or should go ahead.

So far, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Japan, including foreigners, has risen to more than 960, with over 700 of them stemming from the virus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in the port city of Yokohama.

The preparations for the event have already been delayed due to scandals and repeated venue changes. And now threats to the Olympics are getting more real as the coronavirus outbreak spreads in Japan.

“Though I hope it will subside by July, I’m not sure to what degree will it subside,” a pedestrian told CGTN reporter.

“When the coronavirus was first reported, I thought it might not continue for that long as the Olympics will be held in summer. But if it lingers on, that would be bad. However, I don’t think the government is considering postponing or letting other countries hold the Olympics,” said a pedestrian.

“The athletes are from different countries and regions around the world. If they are infected, they may make it spread in the country. So I wonder whether it’s possible not to host the Olympics,” another pedestrian said.

However, others are more optimistic and say the public is now taking more reasonable precautions

“I think it is quite safe to hold the Olympics here. I am from the Netherlands and when I look at the normal flu, for example, far more people get normal flu than the coronavirus. And there are more casualties than the coronavirus as well. So at the moment, I am not concerned that the coronavirus will stop the Olympics,” said a foreigner.

Meanwhile, there are worries that some countries or athletes may decide it’s not worth the risk to come to Japan.

“In a word, we should take all possibilities into consideration and take measures. If all efforts fail, then we should think about postponing or canceling the Olympic Games. But first, I believe it is essential to fulfilling what we can do,” said a pedestrian.

“I think we should see how things develop by the end of March or April. If we see it subside, we should prepare clear data and disclose it to the world,” another man said.

Although Tokyo residents are still split over the issue, most say the Games would boost morale and possibly the country’s economy. ( CCTV / CGTN VIA REUTERS CONNECT)

Australia to cull thousands of wild camels as they search for water

UNTV News   •   January 8, 2020

Sydney — Australian authorities began culling at least 10,000 wild camels Wednesday whose overwhelming population has endangered communities in the desert region as they try to access water amid one of the worst droughts in the country’s history.

Aboriginal areas of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) reserve, “have been unable to manage the scale and number of camels that congregate in dry conditions,” according to a statement from the Department for Environment and Water of South Australia.

An APY executive committee statement said professional snipers teams would shoot the animals in an operation set to last at least five days.

Some 10,000 wild camels approach water sources used by the area’s aboriginal population and damage their infrastructure, endangering families and communities, as well as competing with cattle.

Many of these camels die of thirst or trample each other to access water, according to the statement from the South Australia environmental department.

“The dead animals have contaminated important water sources and cultural sites (which are important for the aboriginal community, as their spirituality is deeply linked to their sacred places),” it added.

APY Lands Manager Richard King told national broadcaster ABC that they would try to kill the camels when they approach water sources.

“It gives us an opportunity to get them while they’re all together, because generally they’ll go and move around the desert in smaller herds. So while they’re all together, it’s a great time to have a cull and clean out some of the animals that are destroying some of our native vegetation,” King said.

According to tracking portal CamelScan, there are about 1.2 million wild camels in Australia, and their population doubles every nine years. According to the portal, these animals live in a area spanning 3.3 million square kilometers and cause more than AU$10 million ($6.8 million) in yearly damages.

It is not the first time Australia kills animals such as camels and horses that aren’t endemic to the country and are often a threat to the ecosystem and native species, generally composed of smaller populations that include few carnivorous animals. EFE-EPA

wat/sk/lds

Duterte may impose drastic actions vs Maynilad, Manila Water if water shortage worsens – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   October 28, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has warned to take up drastic actions against water concessionaires in Metro Manila if water shortage worsens, Malacañang said Monday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the lack of action on the part of Maynilad and Manila Water may be a factor in the measures that the president may take on the problem.

These measures, according to Panelo, may include revocation of contracts to operate, and to make water concessionaires “accountable” if they are found at fault in the situation.

“I supposed the fact that they have not undertaken corrective measures that will prevent the evolution of the incoming crisis again would be a factor that would make the president decide on drastic action against them” he told reporters.

Water concessionaires, Maynilad and Manila Water have scheduled rotational water service disruptions starting last Oct. 24 to manage the supply from the main water supplier for Metro Manila, Angat Dam.

The water disruption lasts between four to ten hours for Manila Water consumers, and eight to 18 hours for Maynilad customers.

Water utility firms have explained it implemented rotational supply cuts to avoid a bigger problem with water supply next year.

“Kung magpapatuloy tayo na ibibigay natin yung parehong service level at hindi tayo magpapatupad ng water interruptions mas madaling bababa yung level ng Angat,” Manila Water spokesperson Jeric Sevilla said.

Based on the monitoring of state weather bureau, as of 6 a.m. Oct. 28, the water level at Angat dam is at 185.28 meters, slightly lower than the 185.41 meters recorded on Oct. 27.

There are only five meters left before it dips to its minimum operating level of 180 meters. The dam’s water elevation has consistently declined in the past few weeks due to lack of heavy rainfall that could raise its reserves.

Manila Water has expressed support for the planned construction of Kaliwa Dam which is seen to help allocate additional 600 million liters of water per day to Metro Manila.

“Itong Kaliwa Dam is something that we welcome, in fact, hindi lamang Kaliwa dam any other source of water na pwedeng mapagkunan ng additional sources of water supply for the next years,” Sevilla said.

However, the project construction has yet to start as the government is still in the process of reviewing its plan after receiving complaints regarding its implementation.

The Metropolitan Water Works and Sewerage System is looking at the Wawa Calawis project and the East Bay Water Supply project to improve the water supply in Metro Manila.

The Wawa Calawis project is seen to ensure water security in the metropolis as it can deliver 80 million liters per day, while the East Bay Water Supply project may be able to supply 50 million liters per day.

But these projects may become operational by 2022.

While waiting for completion, consumers in Metro Manila are urged to conserve water to manage the current supply from Angat dam and avoid a bigger problem during dry season next year. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)

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