Bulacan Governor Daniel Fernando on Friday pinpointed the damaged gate of Bustos Dam as one of the reasons for the persistent floodwaters in some parts of the province.
But the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) said the dam is not linked to the recent flood.
“Sira na yung gate No. 5. Tatlong taon na ang nakakalipas eh hindi pa rin. Paano kung bigla na lang may dumating, mas malakas pa pala diyan? Nakakatakot ‘yun kasi pag ‘yung mga gates, lubog ang Bulacan,” said Fernando in Jun Veneracion’s report on “24 Oras.”
(The gate no. 5 of Bustos Dam is damaged. It has been three years but it is still not fixed. What if heavier rains occur? Then the whole province will be flooded.)
NIA Administrator Eduardo Guillen said the Bustos Dam is a rubber or diversionary dam and the damaged gate doesn’t affect the release of water.
“Kahit walang sira ‘yun wala siyang kakayanan na pigilan ang lakas ng tubig na dumarating. Dapat ang tanungin natin okay ba mga drainage bakit hindi lumabas ang tubig sa drainage,” he said.
(Even if the gates were all working, they don’t have the capacity to control the water. We should look into the drainage system and why it did not work.)
According to weather bureau PAGASA, the flood in Bulacan was caused by the heavy volume of water from the torrential rains dumped by the enhanced southwest monsoon (habagat), and Typhoons Egay and Falcon.
Data from PAGASA showed the rains received by Bulacan, Pampanga, and Nueva Ecija from July 26 to August 3 reached 2.9 billion cubic meters, that can fill around one million Olympic-sized swimming pools.
In comparison, the water released from Bustos and Ipo Dams from July 27 to August 4 was equivalent only to the amount of water in at least 11,000 swimming pools.
“Kahit sabihin natin na hindi nag-open ‘yung Ipo o Bustos, sa laki ng mga pag ulan maaring nagkaroon ng pagbaha,” said PAGASA-Hydromet Division Meteorologist Edgar dela Cruz.
(Even if the Ipo or Bustos did not open their gates, floods may still happen due to the rainfall.)
“Pagka hindi ho sya pinakawalan at bumigat nang bumigat ang tubig sa loob ng reservoir baka masira mas lalo tayong magka problema. Paano ‘pag dumating ang summertime wala tayong tubig?” dela Cruz added.
(If they did not release water, the reservoir may be damaged and that would cause more trouble. What will happen if we don’t have water allocation in the summer?)
To address the flood, the NIA said it will construct a P2.4 billion dam project in Bulacan.
The bidding process for the Bayabas Dam has started and if unhampered, the construction may start in December. The project may be finished in three years’ time.
“Itigil natin ang sisihan, tingnan natin problema at gumawa tayo ng solusyon,” said Guillen.
(We should stop blaming each other and work towards a solution.)
Meanwhile, the NIA administrator said despite the rains, the water in three other major dams is still below normal levels.
“Malayo pang mapuno ang Angat, malayo pang mapuno ang Pantabangan, malayo pang mapuno ang Magat. Hindi pa tayo safe. Malayo pa,” Guillen added.—Sundy Locus/LDF, GMA Integrated News