Palawan IMO in Action over Unpredictable Rainfall Patterns at MBBRIS in Narra

Narra, Palawan - Palawan, a province known for its pristine beaches, diverse wildlife, and abundance of crops, also faces the grim reality of climate change as extreme weather events become more frequent and intense.

In response to the growing occurrence and severity of weather conditions, the NIA Palawan IMO remains in constant alert at Malatgao Batang-Batang River Irrigation System (MBBRIS) in Narra to ensure the safety of farmlands, safeguard infrastructure, and shield crops from harm caused by unpredictable rainfall, approaching storms and flood.

To mitigate potential agricultural losses and destruction in the area covered by Batang Batang RIS, personnel from Palawan IMO MBBRIS consistently adhere to standard operating procedures from imminent rain and utilize the automation capabilities of the Batang-Batang intake to efficiently operate sluice and intake gates. This agency also positioned a telemetry device to notify operation staff via phone messages whenever the water level surpasses the designated 2m limit. This device also helps gather essential information on rainfall data that can also be accessed through the internet.

Residents of Barangay Princess Urduja were taken by surprise at 4 p.m. on September 4 when heavy rain suddenly poured down and began to drench the area. Some speculated that the canal structure at Batang Batang RIS lateral A may be responsible for the sudden deluge as the water from the creeks flowed down rapidly at station 0+600.

Engr. Nimrod Maceda, the Office-In-Charge (OIC) of MBBRIS Office, stated that the torrent in Brgy. Princess Urduja on September 4 was attributed to the extreme weather conditions where the official data from the telemetry provided by SWRFT Arielyn Guanzon showed the rainfall amount in the history of the area reached 101.6 mm at 4 p.m., surpassing the normal rain gauge reading of 7.5 mm set for Batang Batang RIS.

He made it clear that despite the lateral A being built to withstand floods, it was ill-equipped to handle substantially increased amounts of rainfall beyond the usual levels observed in the area since it was constructed in 1987. Engr Maceda further stressed that the canal designed by the agency was solely meant for irrigation purposes and could possibly be runoff if extreme rainfall occurred.

NIA Palawan IMO Division Manager Armando L Flores visited Brgy. Princess Urduja together with MBBRIS staff on September 5. He emphasized that the agency will continue to coordinate closely with local authorities to validate the area and devise an all-encompassing plan to prevent recurring event.

At Multipurpose Hall Princess Urduja on September 7, Engr. Maceda and the MBBRIS operations team joined forces with the Barangay, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Municipal Environment and Natural Resources (MENRO), Narra Local Government Unit (LGU), Purok Presidents, Princess Urduja National High School (PUNHS), and IA President to develop preventive measures to avert the recurrence of the similar situation.

Meanwhile, NIA MIMAROPA Regional Manager Ronilio M. Cervantes and Manager Flores are continuously engaging with lined agencies to coordinate a convergence program that will lead to the development of viable drainage solutions to prioritized barangays affected by climate change in town.