New Barotac Viejo irrigation facility to be developed for tourism, aquaculture

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The P993.3 million Barotac Viejo Small Reservoir Irrigation Project was inaugurated April 16, 2018. — NIA PHOTO

THE NEWLY-OPENED P993.3 million Barotac Viejo Small Reservoir Irrigation Project (SRIP) will be further developed for aquaculture and farm-tourism.

“Ten percent of the 50 square kilometers of the water reservoir will be allocated for fishery and is expected to generate 3,442 metric tons of fish annually,” National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Administrator Ricardo R. Visaya said during the project’s inauguration last April 16.

“We can establish restaurants and boating activities for the tourists to enjoy,” he added.

During the inauguration, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the NIA, Department of Agriculture (DA), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Department of Tourism (DOT), and local government units for an inter-agency collaboration for the proposed agriculture, fishery and eco-tourism site.

The SRIP, with a dam that has a storage capacity of 11.084 million cubic meters, is expected to irrigate 2,050 hectares of farm lands, benefitting at least 900 farmers in Barotac Viejo and neighboring towns.

NIA Regional Manager Gerardo P. Corsiga said the reservoir needs six to eight months to be filled with water.

“A little more sacrifice and this reservoir will finally provide a year-round water supply,” Mr. Corsiga said.

Feliserio Natali, president of the Barotac Viejo River Federation of Irrigators’ Association, said the project will enable them to increase their production through more cropping in one year.

“Before, we can only plant up to first and second cropping. With this project, we believe we can increase our production,” he said. — Emme Rose S. Santiagudo