MANILA – The Magat Dam in Northern Luzon is scheduled to release water from the reservoir again beginning around 6 a.m. on Tuesday.
Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) hydrologist Edgar dela Cruz said the spilling operation is in anticipation of rains Magat may receive from Typhoon Bising (international name Surigae) that is forecast to be already over waters east of Northern Luzon this week.
“It’s a precaution against possible rise of Magat water to the normal high water level of this dam,” he said on Monday.
He said Magat’s water rises easily since this small dam receives a lot of runoff from rain over its large basin.
“Even light rainfall causes Magat’s water level to already react,” he said.
Dela Cruz said spilling is necessary to keep Magat’s water from rising to and beyond the normal high.
He said such water level rise will already endanger Magat’s structure.
The PAGASA reported that Magat’s 6 a.m. water level on Monday was at 190.42 meters, just 2.58 meters below the normal high.
The Magat Dam will open its Gate 4 at a height of one meter on Tuesday to spill water at a rate of 200 cubic meters per second, according to the notice covering the planned spilling operation.
He, however, said people in Magat Dam’s downstream communities must avoid being in the river while spilling operation is in progress.
They can be carried away by the river’s current, he added.
According to the PAGASA, Magat Dam’s latest spilling operation was conducted from March 25 to 27 this year due to surge in the northeast monsoon or “amihan”.
In its 5 a.m. severe weather bulletin on Monday, PAGASA said Typhoon Bising is located some 250 kilometers east-northeast of Virac, Catanduanes as of 4 a.m.
“Bising” was moving north-northwestwards at 10 kilometers per hour, packing maximum sustained winds of 195 kilometer per hour (kph) near its center and gustiness of up to 240 kph.
PAGASA expects “Bising” to be 510 km east of Baler municipality in Northern Luzon’s Aurora province on Tuesday morning.
By Wednesday morning, Bising may already be about 430 km east of Tuguegarao City in Northern Luzon’s Cagayan province. Catherine Teves / PNA – northboundasia.com