NIA-KIMO recommends  closure of Bulanao hydro power plant

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TABUK CITY, Kalinga – The National Irrigation Administration – Kalinga Integrated Management Office (NIA-KIMO) recommended the temporary suspension of operations of the 1-megawatt Bulanao hydroelectric power plant or up to the time that all issues, including the rental fee, shall have been resolved by the concerned parties.

In a 3-page memorandum dated September 1, 2020, former NIA-KIMO Division Manager Ronilio Cervantes stated that DPJ Engineers and Consultants, NIA and the Irrigators Associations will again convene to review and finalize the operations, particularly the water protocols, considering all parameters for another operation of the hydro plant without prejudicing its negative effects to the farmers of the Upper Chico River Irrigation System (UCRIS).

Further, NIA-KIMO and the concerned irrigators associations agreed that irrigation water scheduling should be followed by the DPJ Engineers and Consultants in the operation of the power plants.

The joint investigation team that conducted a walk through the UCRIS, the Tabuk Supply Canal (TSC) laterals and the Bulanao hydro plant discovered that due to the limited discharge at the UCRIS intake dam during the dry season, coupled with the lapses in the operation of the hydro plant and TSC No. 1, some portions of the system, especially at the tail end or downstream areas in barangays Agbannawag, Nambaran and Lacnog of Tabuk City, Kalinga and Quezon and Mallig, Isabela receive less irrigation water.

The team also recommended that the operator of the power plant should observe strict compliance of the operation’s protocol regarding water diversion at the plant so that the issue on less irrigation water will also be considered.

Moreover, the NIA-KIMO had conducted improvements of the system through desilting, canal lining, repair and rehabilitation and restoration of existing irrigation facilities so that the system will be functional in its purpose for adequate irrigation water until its downstream areas.

The team also recommended that concerned stakeholders shall immediately set operations protocols, particularly water protocols, to maximize the irrigable area in the downstream portion of the system.

Supposedly, the company was to remove the gates across the NIA service road by September 10, 2020 while concreting of the power plant’s spillway should also be done on or before the aforesaid date.

The team emphasized that there should be continuous improvement of the system through desilting, repair or rehabilitation or restoration of existing facilities where the NIA will be responsible to desilt the same and the established lateral canals.

The investigating team asserted there should be proper coordination of the company with the NIA and both the irrigators association federations of Tabuk-Pinukpuk and Quezon-Mallig for transparency purposes to immediately address issues and concerns that will transpire in the future.

The team claimed that the reported 6 percent made by the hydro power plant operator will be subject to further dialogues by the NIA and the company to allow the reflection of adjusted payments in the agreement being worked out at the NIA central office instead of the 4 percent existing rates which is below standards. By HENT

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