November 21, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

NIA sees 357 potential hydropower facilities within irrigation system

THE National Irrigation Administration (NIA) plans to put up more hydropower projects on existing irrigation systems to boost its income and help augment power supply in the countryside.

NIA said in a statement it identified about 357 potential sites for hydropower, enabling the agency to be an “active partner” in power generation while providing sustainable and efficient irrigation services.

Earlier this week, NIA Administrator Ricardo R. Visaya led the signing of a memorandum of agreement with Nascent Technologies Corp. for the development and construction of 0.4-megawatt (MW) Barit irrigation discharge hydroelectric plant at a cost of P27.6 million.

“This is part of the continuous effort of the agency to support the administration in providing more renewable energy sources that will not just only boost NIA’s income but also will contribute to the provision of electricity in far-flung communities in the country,” Mr. Visaya was quoted in the statement as saying.

Other ongoing projects include 8.5-MW Maris Main (South) Canal hydroelectric plant in Isabela with target commercial operations for February 2018, Marbel mini hydropower facility in South Cotabato, and Butao irrigation drop mini hydropower project in Pangasinan.

Negotiations are still ongoing for the 630-kilowatt hydropower project at the Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation System in Nueva Ecija; the 1-MW mini-hydropower plant for the Chico River Irrigation System in Kalinga; the 3.6-MW hydroelectric project at the Addalam River Irrigation Project in Quirino; and another project at the Agno River Integrated System in Pangasinan.

NIA assured the farmers that the mini hydro projects will not affect the irrigation component.

“There is no conflict between power generation and irrigation. It is just a matter of getting the most out of our water resource. We are optimistic that this endeavor will take off and will ensure smooth implementation and optimum results,” Mr. Visaya said. -- Krista Angela M. Montealegre