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5 Luzon Dams Reach Critical Level, Continue Releasing Water

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5 Luzon Dams Reach Critical Level, Continue Releasing Water

Post  Justin_Romile on Sat Oct 03, 2009 4:54 pm

Five major Luzon dams nearly filled to capacity have remained open and may overflow, threatening to flood downstream communities in four provinces.

Two dams in Benguet and one each in Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, and Isabela provinces have been continuously releasing volumes of water since “Ondoy" struck the country last week, government weather bureau data as of 5 p.m. Friday showed.

Angat Dam in Bulacan province has been releasing 58.6 cubic meters of water per second, data from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa)’s Hydrometeorology Division said.

Its water level has reached 211.63 meters or only 0.37 meters more before it reaches the spilling level of 212 meters. One of the dam’s gates has been releasing water since September 29.

In the meantime, water levels in Binga Dam in Benguet province has already reached 573.70 meters, 1.3 meters shy of its spilling level of 575 meters. It has been releasing 267 cubic meters of water per second since two of the dam’s gates were opened last September 26.

Ambuklao Dam, also in Benguet, has been releasing 68 cubic meters of water since six of its gates were opened on September 26. The dam’s water level has reached 741.15 meters or only 10.85 meters less than its spilling level of 752 meters.

Magat Dam in Isabela province, with one gate opened since September 26, has been releasing 183 cubic meters of water per second. Its water level was recorded at 189.94 meters or only 3.06 meters more before reaching the spilling level of 193 meters.

Pantabangan Dam in Nueva Ecija province, with one gate opened since September 30, has been releasing 230 cubic meters of water per second. Its current water level is 219.43 meters, while its spilling level is 221 meters.

These five dams are expected to continue releasing water during the onslaught of typhoon “Pepeng."

The typhoon is expected to make landfall between the provinces of Isabela and Aurora on Saturday, Pagasa hydrologist Socrates Paat Jr. told GMANews.TV in an interview Friday night.

“The dams may continue releasing water days after Pepeng. We expect the typhoon to bring moderate to heavy rainfall that could fill up our dams," said Paat.

Paat said the amounts of rainfall are classified into the following: light – with 0 to 60 millimeters of rainfall per 24 hours; moderate with 60 to 180 mm per 24 hours; and heavy with 180 mm or higher.

The unannounced release of water from dams during Ondoy’s onslaught is being blamed for the massive flooding in Luzon areas.

Close to 300 people died after the tropical storm, the 15th weather disturbance that hit the country this year, wrought havoc in Metro Manila and Calabarzon last week.

Senior investigator Rommel Habig at the Malabon City police station said the people behind the release of water in the dams in Bulacan should take responsibility for what had happened to the flood victims. Authorities, however, denied that the release caused the massive flooding.

The water level in Laguna de Bay has also reached its critical level after Ondoy battered Luzon. Edgar Manda, head of the Laguna Lake Development Authority, said the lake is set to break its 90-year record, threatening to submerge more areas in Metro Manila and several nearby provinces in flood.

He said the lake is now almost 14 meters deep or just half a meter away from the bay’s highest recorded level of 14.5 meters in 1919. The water level in the bay could further rise once Pepeng makes landfall on Saturday, according to Manda.
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