Around P500 million needed to retrofit Magat Dam this 2023: NIA

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 24 2023 04:41 PM

Magat Dam on November 21, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
Magat Dam on November 21, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA— Around P500 million will be needed for the retrofitting of Magat Dam in Isabela to further strengthen the structure, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) said Monday. 

NIA Acting Administrator Eduardo Guillen said Senator Imee Marcos had been pushing to allot funds for the project. The dam is already around 41 years old this year, information from the agency's website read. 

"Alam natin na may lindol lately, naapektuhan yung dam natin, mayroon tayong gagawing retrofitting diyan o pagpapatibay ng ating dam... Medyo lumang-luma na tlaaga, kailangan i-retrofit siya," Guillen said in a televised briefing. 

(We know we had earthquakes lately and our dam was affected. We will do retrofitting to strengthen our dams. It is quite old so it needs to be retrofit.)

"Ang Magat Dam, madaming umaasa diyan na ating mga farmers, lalo na ang ating irrigators' association para sa kanilang patubig. Kung ito ay mapagtibay pa, aabot pa sana ng more than 100 years yang dam natin, malaking bagay," he added.

(Many entities are depending on Magat Dam, most especially our farmers and our irrigators' association for their irrigation. If this can be strengthened, then we can help the dam reach up to 100 years.) 

Guillen said they already started the job of retrofitting the dam, admitting that the project would be "expensive." The retrofitting may be done in a year, he added.

"Initial pondo na kailangan na estimate ng ating mga engineers, around mga almost P500 million. Ang tinatantya namin na tatagal, kaya naman ng isang taon na i-implement, yung retrofitting," he said. 

(The initial funds will be around P500 million, based on the estimates of our engineers. Retrofitting will be implemented for around a year.) 

State-run Philippine News Agency reported that Senator Marcos led the inaugural retrofitting activities in Magat Dam on Saturday. 

Information from the NIA showed Magat Dam irrigates around 81,000 hectares of land around Isabela, Quirino, and a portion of Ifugao, as of 2015. It also has hydroelectric power plants. 

The dam was inaugurated by former President Ferdinand Marcos, Sr. in October 1982, but operations only started in 1983.

Video from PTV