State think tank wants plan for stronger irrigation systems
The Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) called for the creation of an irrigation and water research program to address the problems plaguing the irrigation sector.
PIDS evaluated 66 communal irrigation systems and 22 national irrigation systems in 16 provinces in Luzon.
The Philippine Star quoted a PIDS paper as saying that growth in the irrigation sector has been slowing down in the past decade despite higher funding because of weak program design and mismanagement.
PIDS said irrigation systems must be designed to make them compatible with “operational realities” such as availability of water supply and irrigation demand.
It said irrigation systems usually suffer from siltation, inadequate source of water, and faulty control structures, among others.
PIDS said the monitoring and evaluating capacity of irrigation agencies could be strengthened by providing funding for water resource centers in universities.
It also called for the delineation of roles of the National Irrigation Authority and irrigators associations, which manage the irrigation systems in exchange for a fee for maintenance and operations.
“However, majority of IAs do not have the financial capacity to function and be effective. Most IAs are faced with problems of pervasive water theft, members not following the cropping calendar, and most of them still asking for resources for operations and maintenance such as payment for electricity bill,” the PIDS study said.