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PN 2020-02: Assessing the Philippine Irrigation Development Program

Irrigation systems were established in different parts of the Philippines to raise land productivity by providing sufficient water for agricultural activities. In the Pampanga River Basin alone, five major national irrigation systems are operating, including the Angat-Maasim River Irrigation System (AMRIS) and the Pampanga Delta River Irrigation System (PADRIS). Sadly, both AMRIS and PDRIS have failed to attain their original design service areas. This Policy Note assesses AMRIS and PADRIS and evaluates the factors behind their inability to attain their designed service areas. Among others, it finds that the reduction of their irrigation service area is due to urbanization and flooding problems, as well as technical issues. For instance, a significant portion of the agricultural land in these areas was already converted to industrial or residential developments. With regard to flooding problems, both AMRIS and PADRIS have low-lying areas in their lower ends, being in the vicinity of the Pampanga Delta. To mitigate the impact of these issues on the irrigation systems, the study urges to revisit cropping schedules to maximize use of watershed streamflow and minimize its competing use with Metro Manila’s water supply demand. The study likewise suggests for the government to design the canal maintenance with dredging or rehabilitation to optimally satisfy both the slope and canal width and depth, including alignment requirements. Further, periodic assessment of the efficiency of irrigation water delivery operations should be conducted for proper maintenance and upgrade irrigation facility.

Philippine Institute for Development Studies
Authors Keywords
Tabios, Guillermo Q. III; de Leon, Tomas Z. ; irrigation; land productivity; national irrigation system; irrigation rehabilitation;
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