Saturday, 13 March 2010

Cloud-seeding brings rains

Magat Dam, 2 other plants shut down; Binga operating under critical condition
By NONOY E. LACSON and MYRNA VELASCO
Manila Bulletin
http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/247434/cloudseeding-brings-rains

The Department of Agriculture (DA) in the Zamboanga Peninsula said the initial cloud-seeding sortie last Sunday has yielded positive results as heavy rains fell in the watersheds of the city.

As this developed, Magat Hydroelectric Dam in Ramon, Isabela temporarily stopped operations due to the continuous decline of water level which now below its normal operating depth.

The shutting down of the Magat Dam lessened the power reserves of the Luzon grid by approximately 360 megawatts, the total power output of the facility.

DA-Region 9 Executive Director Dr. Oscar Parawan said the cloudseeding operations were conducted to induce rainfall in areas severely affected by the El Niño phenomenon and to improve the water levels in reservoirs of the city.

Parawan said strong rain fell few hours after the cloud-seeding operations in the city.

“Our report here indicated that heavy rain fell at the watershed areas of the city and in the adjacent barangays on Sunday,” he said.

The team, led by Teddy Bersabe, is based in Zamboanga and is expected to conduct about 10 cloud-seeding sorties.

The team is composed of personnel from the DA's Bureau of Soil and Water Management has been on standby at the airport hangar since Saturday waiting for “seedable” clouds in coordination with the local weather bureau, PAGASA.

A Cessna plane, PR-9000, is ready at all times and is loaded with several sacks of salt for dispersal above seedable clouds.

DA secretary Bernardo G. Fondevilla allocated some P2.7 million for cloud-seeding operations in Zamboanga and some parts of the region to help cushion the impact of the dry spell here.

The Zamboanga City Water District also vowed to infuse some funds should the DA cloud seeding operations turn out successful.

Magat, 2 other power plants shut down

But while cloud-seeding is a success in parts of Mindanao, power reserves of the Luzon grid was lessened with the shutdown of Magat Dam.

The management of the SN Aboitiz Power Corporation (SNAP), the operator of the Magat Hydroelectric Dam, disclosed the temporary stop in operations Friday.

Aside from the absence of power production, the non-operation of the Magat Dam will also result in the depletion of the irrigation water being provided to the vast tracts of agricultural lands in the Cagayan Valley which will worsen the losses of farmers in the coming months.

Lawyer Mike Hosillos, SNAP external affairs manager, said the latest water elevation in the dam’s reservoir dropped to 153.5 meters above sea level which is way below the 160 meters critical water level.

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) also reported the shutdown of the Sta. Rita Module 20 facility of First Gen Corporation and the Units 1 and 2 of the Malaya Thermal Plant. The temporary stop in operations of the two facilities has resulted in the power deficiency of 440 megawatts.

With the shutdown, Luzon grid customers are now experiencing anew one-hour rotating brownouts from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday.

Binga Dam critical

The Binga Dam in Itogon, Benguet, meanwhile, is still generating at least 25 to 50 megawatts of power during peak hours even with the water level already in a critical situation.

While it rained in some portions of the Cagayan Valley Friday morning, Hosillos said the rainfall was not enough to bring back the plant’s operation although it helped increase the water level.

In 1992, the Magat Dam was still able to operate and generate power even though its water level was 156.2 meters above sea level.

Earlier, SNAP officials projected the shutdown of the dam’s operation on March 21, 2010. But because of the fast depletion of water, the closure was done earlier than expected.

SNAP manages the Ambuclao and Binga dams in Benguet and the Magat dam which is located in the boundary of Ifugao and Isabela.

In the Visayas, NGCP noted that it “will still have limited power supply of 1,136 MW and a deficiency of 45 MW” despite the grid synchronization of Cebu Energy Development Corporation last week.

For Mindanao, the system operator’s advisory will be for it to “have a deficiency of 650 MW due to the reduced capabilities of hydro-electric power plants.” As of March 12, the grid’s total available capacity was at 807 MW with a peak demand of 1,457 MW.

Apart from generation deficiency, there are also reports that supply interruptions are being aggravated by transmission networks and towers which have been breaking down at times.

1 comment:

  1. wala naman po silbi ang pag cloud seeding na ginagawa hindi din naman malocate kung saan talaga babagsak ang ulan hindi naman sa dam bumabagsak ang ulan.masyado lang kayong nagpapanic akala nyo mauubos ang tubig.oo madaling gumawa ng ulan kayo ng tao yan pero pag sobra na ang ulan kaya nyo bang pigilan?yun ang tanong...di kayo makuntento pwede naman mag hintay ng ulan wag kayong gumawa ng sarili nyong ulan pag sobra ulan may magagawa ba kayo?magbabaha lang kawawa na naman mga tao.

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