Sep 16, 2015

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Capitol moves to cushion El Niño effects on water, food supply

SAN FERNANDO – The provincial government through the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) on Wednesday took steps to cushion the ill-effects of the anticipated El Niño phenomenon on the province’s supply of water and agriculture.
Vice governor Dennis “Delta” Pineda and Angelina Blanco, head of the PDRRMO, led the El Niño Assessment for local government units, to determine the extent of possible damage the weather phenomenon could inflict on the province’ s agriculture and supply of potable water.
Representatives from respective municipal agricultural offices, local water districts and the National Irrigation Administration were invited to consolidate data that could guide the provincial government in drafting programs to mitigate El Niño’s devastating effects to residents.
Weather authorities predict a longer occurrence of El Niño this year that could extend up to the first quarter of 2016.  This could mean very little or no rain in wide swaths of lands wreaking havoc primarily on the province’s agriculture sector.


According to Provincial Agriculturist Ed Salenga, about 77,076.93 hectares of agricultural land would be affected should the current dry spell experienced throughout the province worsen.


Salenga also shared some of the mitigation plans undertaken by MAOs and local farmers such as, planting drought-tolerant or drought-resistant crops, adjusting planting calendar, adapting water saving technologies, implementing an alternative cropping system, and desilting of waterways and irrigation channels, among others.
For his part, Vice Governor Pineda pledged to augment the LGUs budget for fuel consumption upon the depletion of the latter’s resources.


Blanco also asked the MAOs to prepare a census of farmers affected by the phenomenon and the particulars of their respective farms, as well as a list of farmers with working irrigation systems.


According to Blanco, cloud seeding is also being considered as one of the last resorts should the expected drought around the final quarter of 2015 leading to the first quarter of 2016 drags on.


Meanwhile, the province’s supply of potable water remains stable as reported by the Pampanga Association of Water Districts (PAMAWD) led by their president Evelina Galicia. As per Galicia’s presentation, the PAMAWD serves 199,469 households throughout the province and currently no water shortage is experienced.


Attending the meeting were Engr. Prudencio Santos, National Irrigation Administration; Eduviges Pelayo, Department of Agriculture; Eden Ponio, Department of Agrarian Reform; and San Luis Mayor Venancio Macapagal.


By Angelique DC Tuazon

Vice Governor Dennis G. Pineda listens intently as San Luis Mayor Venancio Macapagal shares his insight on the current El Niño phenomenon. Also in photo are PDRRMO Angie Blanco and NIA-Pampanga chief Engr. Prudencio Santos. (Photo by Jun Jaso)