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Rising water level in Angat dam worries Bulacan officials
Tuesday, 03 September 2013
CITY OF MALOLOS – Despite a sunny day, Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Friday once again played the role of a “traffic enforcer”, directing the release of water from the three big dams in the province as floods continue to plague many villages in Calumpit town.

The governor together with disaster control officials and Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System administrator Gerry Esquivel met with operators and engineers of Angat, Ipo and Bustos dams after the water elevation at Angat Dam breached the 200 meters mark.

As of 6:00 Friday, the water level at Angat Dam climbed to 203.56 meters, almost five meters from reaching its spilling level of 210 meters.

“This 203 meters water elevation at Angat Dam is worrisome because before the southwest monsoon came the water elevation was only 193 meters but it suddenly climbed up to 203 meters. Another surge of intensive rainfall could spell doom in the low lying towns like Hagonoy and Calumpit as well as the city of Malolos because they will be forced again to discharge their excess water,” Alvarado explained.

The governor urged Engr. Precioso Donato Punzalan, assistant operation engineer of Bustos Dam, to conduct preemptive release immediately so that when the water level at Angat dam breached its spilling level, Bustos dam will have extra room in its water holding capacity.

He also told Punzalan to do the preemptive release during good weather condition and not only when there’s a storm or rainy weather.

Punzalan agreed to release 100 cubic meters per second of water until the water level at Bustos Dam subside to 16.80 (spilling level 17.70) which will give it more space when Angat and Ipo dams open their spill gates.

Alvarado recalled that during the height of the recent southwest monsoon or Habagat, operators of Bustos Dam collapsed one of its rubber gates and released 500 cms of water which worsen the floodings in Malolos, Hagonoy and Calumpit.

He also suggested to operators of Ipo Dam to divide the release of its excess water, one should flow to La Mesa Dam reservoir and the other at Bustos Dam every time there is rainy or stormy weather.

“Bakit palagi na lang sa Bulacan itinatapon, baka puwede namang hatiin nang lalo pang tumatag ang water carrying capacity ng Bustos dam,” the governor said.

He said that the releasing of waters from the three dam should be properly coordinated with each other.

“Ang nangyayari kasi parang nagpapasahan ng bola nang mga nakatalikod sila. Ang masaklap nito walang immediate contact sa isa’t isa ang operator ng Ipo Dam at ng Bustos Dam. Dapat ay magbawas na ng tubig muna ang Bustos dam bago magpawala ang Ipo dam o Angat Dam,” Alvarado said.

Esquivel suggested doing a simulation and instrumentation to better synchronized the release of waters from the said dam.

A disaster control official said that the “disoriented” coordination by dam officials in the discharge of excess waters from the three dams could be blamed from the dam protocol that they follow.

“Iba-iba kasi ang interes ng tatlong dam. Meron sa kuryente, meron sa inuming tubig at mayroon din para sa irigasyon. Maari naman gawin ‘yung preemptive release na hinihiling ni governor pero kailangan pa rin na halos palaging puno ang mga reservoir nila dahil sa mga nasabing interes,” the official said.

Meanwhile, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office on Friday reported that 19 villages in Calumpit are still flooded due to lingering floods spawned by the twin force of the southwest monsoons and Typhoon Maring.

The damages to agriculture (rice, fisheries, and vegetables) have already ballooned to P12, 811,000 while the damages to infrastructure have reached P1, 900,000.

The PDRRMO also reported that a total of 25,206 families from 29 barangays in the flood stricken coastal town were affected due to the still lingering floods. ###

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