by Sheila Mae H. Toreno

ILOILO CITY –The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) had inaugurated today the Barotac Viejo Small Reservoir Irrigation Project (BVSRIP) worth P993.3 million in Brgy. Nueva Invencion. This project seeks to irrigate 2,050 hectares rice areas and will eventually benefit 880 farmers of Barotac Viejo and Banate, Iloilo.

“Kung wala ining proyekto, amo man kami gihapon nga mga farmers, wala guid naga-asenso. Nagapati kami nga ang amo ni nga proyekto makapa improve sang amon cropping intensity, magataas ang amon produksyon,” said Feliserio Natalio, 68, president of Barotac Viejo River Irrigation Federation of Irrigation System Irrigators’ Association Federation.

The BVSRIP will provide irrigation to 11 barangays of Barotac Viejo including California, La Fortuna, Natividad, Sto. Domingo, Bugnay, San Miguel, San Antonio, San Geronimo, San Lucas, Vista Alegre, and De la Peña.

In addition to that, the irrigation project will also aid farmers in the barangays of Merced, Carmelo, Talokgangan, Bariga, Magdalo and Libertad in the Municipality of Banate.

Ferdinand G. Sales, acting SRIP manager, said that the BVSRIP includes that construction of zoned earthfill dam and its appurtenant structures.

He added, “this project is primarily intended for irrigation, fish culture and flood control.”

Morever, Sales mentioned that the BVSRIP has secondary goals of generating aquaculture, tourism and agro power.

With 27.65 meter-high dam, this SRIP has a total storage capacity of 11.084 million cubic meters.

“Kapag wala po yung project during wet season, ang mapapatubigan lang po ay 2.25 metric tons per hectare. At sa dry season naman po ay 3 metric tons per hectare. With this project, makakapatubig tayo during wet season ng 5 metric tons per hectare at sa dry season ng 5.2 metric tons per hectare,” Sales furthered.

NIA 6 Regional Manager Engr. Gerardo P. Corsiga thanked the support of the Federation, the local government unit of Barotac Viejo and the Office of Congressman Raul Tupas in the completion of the project.

“Ang tubig budlay na katama. Magahambalanay kita para mabal-an naton kung san-o ‘ta i-plot ang tubig. Ginalantaw namon nga before mag-rainy season, amo na pag plot out namon. Indi ni sya mapuno sa sulod lang sing isa ka bulan kundi more or less ara sa six to eight months. May apektado sa pagsarado ta sang tubig, gamay lang na nga sakripisyo para makahatag kita maayo sang tubig whole year round,” Corsiga stressed.

Corsiga with Department of Agriculture 6 Field Operations Division Chief Rene B. Famoso, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Provincial Officer Dr. Erwin E. Ilaya, Department of Tourism Operations Officer Rene T. Cortum, and Barotac Viejo Vice Mayor Parly Balleza inked a memorandum of understanding (MOU) during the inauguration program held today.

The MOU seeks to create an inter-agency collaboration for the conduct of the study and formulation of development plans for the proposed establishment of agri-eco tourism in BVSRIP.

“This is a momentous accomplishment that will open the door for the continuing and expanding progress of the agricultural sector here in Iloilo. This is really a big help for the farmers,” said NIA Administrator Gen Ricardo R. Visaya.

He added that with the full development and operation of BVSRIP, the LGU of Barotac Viejo will gain a revenue of P180,171,000.00 from irrigation.

Aside from that P110, 832,000.00 will also be generated from the 3,442.5 metric tons of fish production every year from the nine-hectare reservoir.