Bulo dam also undergoes repair

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SAN MIGUEL, Bulacan—Bulo dam, a National Irrigation Administration (NIA) facility which supplies water for irrigation needs of 570 hectares of rice farms of about 400 farmers in this town and adjacent municipality of Dona Remedios Trinidad (DRT) will also undergo repair after it was damaged by typhoon Karding in September last year.

Josefina Salazar, NIA region 3 director, said the repair is covered within the one year warranty period with the contractor after the project which started in 2018 was turned over to NIA in March 2022.

Salazar said the dam costs P623 million.

She told NEWS CORE that they currently lowered down the volume of the dam to accommodate the needed repair.

Placida Cordero, NIA head in Bulacan however assured farmers the lowering of the dam volume will not affect the needed irrigation supply of the farmers.

Bulo dam supplies the irrigation needs of the said number of farmers in Barangay Malibay, San Miguel town and Barangay Kalawakan in DRT.  

Karding left leakages on its tunnel, has damaged the auxiliary vortex, causing uneven concrete paths and thin and also uneven containing walls, says Rowald Revillame, a ranking officer from the NIA engineering and design office.

Salazar said the auxiliary vortex of the Bulo Dam was damaged by tons of logs and other debris that were swept down during typhoon Karding.

Fernando on Tuesday inspected the reservoir. He asked NIA to improve the facilities to fully meet its functions for farmer’s irrigation supply needs and as a flood control facility. 

“What we are here for is for us to give an assurance for the security and safety of our people and to make sure that there will be uninterrupted supply of water for the farmers,” Fernando said. 

The Bulo dam repair came while NIA and the Bulacan Provincial Government were still reeling on the replacement of new rubber gates of Bustos Dam.

Revillame said both the dams are being repaired under the warranty package with the respective contractors of the projects. However, he said, the contractor in Bustos Dam in particular still has the liability for all the defects in the facility pending issuance of certification of final acceptance by the NIA.  

Bustos dam in Bustos town also known as Angat Afterbay Regulatory Facility regulates and manages the water for irrigation needs of 31,485 hectares of rice farms of more than 20,000 farmers in 16 Bulacan and 4 Pampanga towns is also undergoing major works and repair after one of its rubber gates was found to have leakages reportedly due to factory defects.

It sourced the water it releases for the irrigation needs of 21,554 hectares of rice farms in 16 Bulacan towns–Norzagaray, Angat, San Rafael, Baliwag, Bustos, Plaridel, Calumpit, Pulilan, Hagonoy, Paombong, Bocaue, Bulakan, Pandi, Balagtas, City of Malolos and Guiguinto and 9,930 hectares of farmers in four in Pampanga–Candaba, Apalit, San Luis and San Simon from Angat Dam which is situated in Hilltop Norzagaray town within the Angat Watershed Areas of the Sierra Madre Mountain ranges.

Bustos Dam has a spilling level of 17. 00 meters and has a water volume capacity of 850 million cubic meters. Defective rubber gates could cause flash floods in the low lying areas along the stretch of the Angat River where it straddles.  

Revillame told Fernando during the said Bulo dam visit that their personnel are scheduled to fly to China by end of this month for the testing of a rubber dam that would replace the Rubber Gate No. 5 of the Bustos Dam.

Gate No. 5 was found in 2020 to have factory defects due to leakages. However, because of the pandemic, the repair has long been delayed. 

ITP Construction Inc., the contractor behind the 2016 P1 billion worth Bustos Dam rehabilitation project has China-based firm Guangxi Hydroelectric Construction Bureau Ltd., as its partner which manufactured and supplied the six rubber gates of the dam.

The rehabilitation had yet to be completed and turned over to the NIA when the damages were discovered. 

Fernando said during the visit-dialogue that a provincial government official will also go to China to check the materials used for the replacement of Rubber Gate No. 5. 

Fernando said, after experts including NIA officials approved the replacement, all the five other rubber gates now in use in Bustos Dam must also be replaced with the same new approved rubber gates with brand new materials. He said the same expert team from the Capitol will again go to China for the material testing of the five other rubber gates.

According to Salazar, Bulacan previously has 17 towns receiving water for irrigation from Angat-Bustos Dam but because of the dam’s limited capability to supply water particularly during dry season, Marilao town located at the far southern skirt of the reservoir had not been reached of the needed irrigation supply over the recent years.

Salazar told NEWS CORE however that they have diverted the water supply to expand the irrigation beneficiaries of Pampanga to now nearly 10,000 hectares.

Angat Dam’s foremost function is to supply the 97 water requirements of the entire Metro Manila and adjacent Southern Luzon provinces thereby affecting the irrigation needs of Bulacan and Pampanga farmers.

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