THE National Irrigation Administration (NIA) has partnered with hydroelectric power plant developers to build five facilities, including three in Mindanao, to maximize the use of existing reservoirs.

In a statement on Thursday, the state-led agency said it had signed five separate memoranda of understanding (MoU) with the developers.

Ricardo R. Visaya, NIA administrator, and Ruben B. Sumagang, president and chief executive officer of Renewable Development for Sustainable Growth Corp., signed the MoUs to develop three mini-hydroelectric power facilities in three areas in Mindanao.

The plants will be built in the Mal River Irrigation System (Mal RIS) Canal Stations in Matanao, Davao Del Sur; Andanan River Irrigation System (Andanan CIS) Canal in Agusan Del Sur; and Miral River Irrigation System (Miral RIS) Canal Stations in Bansalan, Davao Del Sur.

In a phone interview, Mr. Visaya said the MoUs on hydroelectric and floating solar power projects could provide additional sources of income for the government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC).

Kailangan namin ’yan for additional income generation kasi GOCC kami. (We need that for additional income generation because we are a GOCC),” he added.

He said he wanted to optimize and maximize the use of existing dams and reservoirs, which NIA supervises and maintains.

Ayaw natin masayang ’yung dams and reservoirs natin na pwede naman gamitin. (We don’t want our dams and reservoirs to go to waste),” Mr. Visaya said.

Meanwhile, MoUs between NIA and other hydropower developers have also been signed.

Joseph S. Yu, president and chief executive of SN Aboitiz Power-Magat, Inc., and Mr. Visaya agreed to develop a floating solar power project at the Magat reservoir in Ramon, Isabela.

An MoU was also signed between NIA and SunAsia Energy, Inc. President Theresa Cruz-Capellan for a floating solar power project at the Pantabangan reservoir in Nueva Ecija.

Revenues from the projects will go to NIA’s corporate operations budget. It will be used to improve the GOCC’s services.

Mr. Visaya also sees the potential of the hydropower plants as ecotourism spots.

“We are coordinating with local government units so that these hydropower plants and floating solar power projects can be shown to tourists,” he said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave