Various repair and maintenance activities at the biggest irrigation system in CAR, Upper Chico River Irrigation System in Tabuk, Kalinga, are currently underway during the irrigation cut off to maintain the efficiency of water delivery.
Among these improvement activities include desilting of the main diversion canal which are full of more than 1.5-meter-thick silt.
According to Engr. Ferdinand Indammog, chief of the Operations Section of the NIA Kalinga Irrigation Office, desilting activities at the main canal are being conducted as early as five o’clock in the morning until about ten o’clock in the evening to be able to clear the main canal of as much silt as possible before the release of irrigation water.
Implementation of CY 2021 as well as carry-over projects from previous years which had to be delayed due the water delivery are also currently underway. This includes concreting/lining of canal of main and lateral canals, and service roads.
Meanwhile, operations personnel of NIA are also taking advantage of the cut-off period to repair the siphon structures of UCRIS to avoid future geyser-like incidents. It can be recalled that in March 2021, irrigation had to be cut off as the manhole of one of the three parallel UCRIS siphons built across the Chico River in FF Cruz, Bulanao, Tabuk City burst due to water pressure and dilapidated nuts and bolts displacing the steel cover, and formed a huge fountain–like jet of water.
These activities are very relevant in ensuring that the facilities of the irrigation system are in good condition and to prepare for the efficient and effective water delivery in the succeeding cropping season of UCRIS.
Initially, the scheduled cut off of the system as agreed by the NIA and Irrigators’ Associations was on April 30. However, due to various requests received, the cut off was moved to May 16, as agreed upon by NIA, Federation of Irrigators’ Associations and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan during the regular session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Kalinga on April 27, 2021.
While the irrigation cut off in Kalinga was moved to May 16, the irrigation cut off at the service areas of UCRIS in Quezon and Mallig, Isabela pushed through on May 1, 2021 as scheduled.
The scheduled release of irrigation water at UCRIS is on June 16, 2021, which is the start of the wet crop season.
Meanwhile, with the cut off at the West Apayao Abulug Irrigation System (WAAIS) already conducted in April, water has been released to the service areas of WAAIS for the start of the wet crop season this month.
Cut off in irrigation systems are being implemented nationwide by the NIA as part of its operation and maintenance.
It is the fervent campaign of the NIA that cropping calendar be followed in the next cropping seasons where farmers conduct synchronous farming activities upon release of irrigation water. A cropping calendar is a schedule of the rice growing season from the fallow period and land preparation, to crop establishment and maintenance, to harvest and storage. Using a crop calendar allows better planning of all farm activities.