SWAMPED Low-lying areas of Barangay San Nicolas in Bulakan town, Bulacan province, are flooded due to intense rains dumped by Typhoon “Egay.” The heavy downpour helped raise the level of Angat Dam, where Metro Manila sources its water. —CARMELA REYES-EESTROPE
DAGUPAN CITY—While heavy and continuous rains dumped by Typhoon “Egay” (international name: Doksuri) triggered widespread flooding and landslides in northern Luzon this week, the weather disturbance also helped improve the water levels in major dams in four provinces.
Administrators of the Angat Dam in Bulacan, San Roque Dam in Pangasinan, Binga and Ambuklao Dams in Benguet, and Magat Dam in Isabela said water elevations rose on Thursday due to the incessant rains brought by Egay, which continued to enhance the southwest monsoon, or “habagat,” even as it was already out of the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Thursday.
The level of San Roque Dam in San Manuel town increased by more than 10 meters in the last 24 hours, according to the San Roque Power Corp., which operates the reservoir.
Data showed that the dam’s elevation was at 238.25 meters above sea level (masl) at 6 a.m. on Wednesday but it increased to 248.83 masl by 11 a.m. on Thursday.
The spilling level of the multipurpose dam is at 280 masl, leaving around 30 meters more before the spilling gates are opened.
San Roque Dam catches water from Benguet’s Ambuklao and Binga dams, both of which have opened gates and released water.
Ambuklao and Binga continued to discharge rainwater to ease pressure on their reservoirs.
Ambuklao’s reservoir in Bokod town was at 751.30 masl on Thursday, up from 746.43 masl on Wednesday when Egay unleashed its fury over Luzon. The dam’s normal high water level is 752 masl.
Meanwhile, the water level at Binga’s reservoir in Itogon town was 574.63 masl on Thursday, which was slightly higher than Wednesday’s 568.52 masl. Its normal high water level is 575 masl.
The rising level at San Roque has elated farmers in Pangasinan, said Oftociano Manalo, president of the farmers’ group Mannalon, Mag-uuma, Magbabaul, Magsasaka ng Pilipinas, noting that this would help irrigate their rice plants.
Manalo said the National Irrigation Administration had also opened the dam’s irrigation gates.
The torrential rains also raised the level of the Sinocalan-Pantal River in Pangasinan to a critical mark, causing the major tributary in the province to burst its bank.
The water level of the section of the Sinocalan-Pantalan River in Calasiao town reached 7.8 meters, above the normal level of 7 m.
Many areas in Calasiao were already submerged in floodwater due to the heavy downpour at the height of Egay, according to the municipal disaster risk reduction and management council.
In Bulacan, the elevation of Angat Dam also rose by more than 3 m due to the continuous rains since Wednesday, according to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office.
Angat Dam supplies 97 percent of the water requirements of Metro Manila and the irrigation needs of Bulacan and Pampanga farmers.
The dam’s level began to drop below the 180 masl operating level on July 8 amid the El Niño phenomenon being experienced in the country.
In Isabela, the water level of Magat Dam reached 170.58 masl on Thursday afternoon, according to the National Irrigation Administration-Magat River Integrated Irrigation System.
It was a significant increase from 162.69 masl on Tuesday morning or before Egay pummeled the Cagayan Valley region. The dam’s elevation on Thursday, however, was still below its 193 masl spilling level.
Magat Dam supplies irrigation to 88,000 hectares of rice farms in the province and nearby areas.
In Olongapo City, two rivers reached a critical level on Thursday due to nonstop rains.
Data from the city disaster risk reduction and management office (CDRRMO) showed that as of 12:39 p.m., water levels underneath the Mabayuan and Sta. Rita bridges were at 2.56 m.
According to the CDDRMO, the critical mark for rivers in the city is between 2.50 and 2.99 m.
—REPORTS FROM YOLANDA SOTELO, CARMELA REYES-ESTROPE, VINCENT CABREZA, KIMBERLIE QUITASOL, VILLAMOR VISAYA JR. AND JOANNA ROSE AGLIBOT