National Irrigation Administration, Central Office - President Benigno S. Aquino III leads the ceremonial launching of Angat Afterbay Regulator Dam rehabilitation in Brgy. Tibagan, Bustos, Bulacan on April 15, 2016. "..Mas maraming Magsasaka ang maseserbisyuhan, mas gaganda ang ani na matatamasa.." These were his encouraging words as he addresses all the Irrigators Association (IA) who are present during the event. Angat Reservoir provides the domestic water supply needs for Metro Manila.
The President also impress with the performance of NIA today under the current management "Mas nagiging maayos na ang ating serbisyong patubig para sa ating mga magsasaka na isa sa ating pinagtutuunan ng pansin". He even thank Administrator Padernal for an efficient job with current plans and actions in the field of irrigation services which directly supporting the agriculture industry.
NIA Administrator Dr. Florencio F. Padernal gives brief and clear explanation about the project including its optimum benefit among our farmers. "As you see, itong mga ginagawa ng NIA ngayon yung pag build, rehab, at improve ng mga dams and irrigation facilities will have a balloon impact in the future" he added.
Dr. Padernal also discusses the scope of the rehabilitation works which will includes, (a) repair of the diversion dam - replacement of 6 bays rubber gates and improvement of apron, training walls and gates, (b) repair and improvement of Main and Lateral Canals and its appurtenant structures, and (c) improved operation and maintenance and support services. The project is set to finish within a 15-month timeline.
Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado expresses his gratitude towards the administration specifically in NIA with the agency's overwhelming support to his constituents. "Sa matagal na panahon magkakaroon na rin po ng pagasa na mas maparami ang maserbisyuhan ng ating dam (Bustos Dam)" he added. Governor Sy-Alvarado told everyone that it has been years of clamor of the province to improve the regulator dam which will directly increase the farmer beneficiaries and service areas.
It was in 1926 when Angat Afterbay Regulator Dam (Bustos Dam) was constructed as a concrete weir type with a service area of 25,000 hectares. In 1967, it was improved by installing six steel sector gates increasing the elevation from 15 meters to 17.50 meters thus increasing the service to 31,500 hectares. In 1990, the steel gates were totally not operational. With a grant from Japan in 1997, the steel gates were replaced with rubber gates becoming the first rubber dam in the country.
In 2007, holes began to appear in the rubber gates. Repairs like vulcanizing the rubber gates were undertaken. But due to old age, it continued to deteriorate. NIA then got the opinion of experts from Bridgestone Company which recommended another replacement.
Due to in availability of funds to replace the rubber gates after 2007, these were not replaced. Remedial measures such as regular maintenance and other temporary measures were done so that irrigation supply will not be disrupted. To continuously serve the farmers with irrigation, NIA included in its GAA funds to repair on-farm irrigation facilities.
But earlier this year, the hope of starting the project finally commenced. A negotiation of funding was discussed between the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and National Irrigation Administration (NIA). Immediately preceding the negotiation both parties agreed that the funding be provided by MWSS and NIA will be the implementing agency.
The estimated cost of P1-Billion is said to cover all the expenses for the project. When fully completed, the rehabilitated dam will irrigate about 31,485 hectares benefiting 23,708 farmers in 16 municipalities of Bulacan and four municipalities in Pampanga.
Also present during the event were DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson, PAFSAM Secretary Fredelita Guiza, and some Mayors form different municipalities in Bulacan and Pampanga. NIA team led by Deputy Administrators, All Regional/Operations/Project Managers, some of NIA Department Managers, NIA Region 3 Manager Josie Salazar, other NIA employees and Irrigators Association in witnessing the event.