Manila Bulletin

NIA head says PH should learn from Oroville Dam prob­lem

- By ELLALYN DE VERA-RUIZ

In an ef­fort to learn from the ex­pe­ri­ence of its coun­ter­part in the United States, the Na­tional Ir­ri­ga­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion (NIA) is closely mon­i­tor­ing a po­ten­tial dis­as­ter in Cal­i­for­nia, fol­low­ing the dam­age to a spill­way in the Oroville Dam.

NIA Ad­min­is­tra­tor Peter Lav­iña said he has in­structed the agency’s En­gi­neer­ing and Op­er­a­tions Depart­ment to fol­low the news on the dam prob­lem, and learn lessons on how Cal­i­for­nia en­gi­neers were ad­dress­ing the prob­lem.

The high lev­els of wa­ter, caused by heavy rains, have been blamed for Oroville dam’s spill­way prob­lem. The dam is lo­cated about 120 kilo­me­ters north of Cal­i­for­nia's state cap­i­tal Sacra­mento.

About 200,000 per­sons have been forced to evac­u­ate fol­low­ing the no­ticed hole in the spill­way of the dam, un­leash­ing a wall of wa­ter threat­en­ing com­mu­ni­ties down­stream.

Lav­iña re­called that, just last Jan­uary 11, he or­dered NIA to un­der­take a thor­ough in­spec­tion of its dams and other ir­ri­ga­tion in­fra­struc­tures to check on their struc­tural in­tegrity and safety fol­low­ing earth­quakes and typhoons.

He called on the in­spec­tion to en­sure the safety of the ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tems and com­mu­ni­ties near and around NIA fa­cil­i­ties na­tion­wide.

Lav­iña was in Ca­gayan de Oro re­cently to visit NIA projects in Re­gion 10, in­clud­ing those in Misamis Ori­en­tal and Bukid­non, which may have been dam­aged in weeks of heavy rains and flood­ing.

He also or­dered its per­son­nel to en­sure that NIA projects are dis­as­ter-re­silient to pre­vent the re­cur­rent restora­tion, re­pair, and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of dam­aged ir­ri­ga­tion fa­cil­i­ties.

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