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CAUAYAN CITY, Isabela, Jan. 21 (PIA) -- With the cloud seeding operations conducted in the Magat Watershed and Magat Dam area from December 20, 2012 until January 15, 2013, inflow at the dam has increased to 105.94 meters and elevation has been sustained at the 180-meter level, according to officials of the Magat River Integrated Irrigation System (Mariis).

Through the Bureau of Soils and Water Management, cloud-seeding operations have been conducted as implementing strategies to mitigate the impact of El Nino in its service area.

Funded by the SN Aboitiz Power, the cloud seeding aimed to help sustain the crops for the Five in Two Program and the regular crop.

As early as August 2012, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) had advised that El Nino may develop around August to October season.

During these months until the end of 2012, the region experienced below normal rainfall conditions and water level at the Magat reservoir has been significantly below the rule curve level. In December 20, 2012 when the cloud seeding operations started, inflow at the Magat dam was at 55.84 cm and elevation was at 184.27 meters.

Irrigation diversion requirement has been reduced by 25 percent this month, and 15 percent reduction will be implemented in February to ensure that water level at the Magat Reservoir will be able to sustain the irrigation needs of rice farms even at the high elevation areas which could no longer be irrigated once the elevation has reached the critical level of 160 meters.

Engr. Mariano G. Dancel, Mariis operations manager called on farmers to conserve water. “We ask farmers to close the turnouts when water in the rice fields is already sufficient. This is a simple act but this would help us use water efficiently, especially now that we are experiencing El Nino,” he said.

Dancel is currently coordinating with BSWM for a continuation of the cloud-seeding operations while there are still seedable clouds.