Small farm reservoirs raise farmers’ incomes
Small farm reservoirs (SFR) that save water during the rainy season that farmers can use during the dry months can also provide additional income if they use it as fishponds, the Philippine Rice Research Institute said in a release.
In San Miguel Bulacan, small farm reservoirs with a maximum height of four meters and an average pond area of 1,500 square meters are enough to provide the irrigation requirements of two hectares of rainfed farms.
“Almost every farm here has an SFR since we have limited water resources and irrigation can’t reach us,” said Rodelio B. Viola, a farmer and chairman of Biclat Farmers Field School Marketing Cooperative of San Miguel, Bulacan.
The reservoirs also serve as fishponds for farmers that give them additional income in the first cropping season. The water from the reservoir is then used for rice production for the second cropping season or the dry months.
Making a small farm reservoir costs farmers P10,000 to build. The money is used to rent equipment such as bulldozers and backhoes. Once the reservoir is made, the farmer will have to dig the space again after five years to maintain the reservoir’s depth as soil erodes over time.
Small farm reservoirs are just just one of the water harvesting techniques farmers can use during the rainy season. Other technologies include small water impounding project (SWIP), diversion dam, dug-out pond, open ditch, and rain interceptor ponds and ditches.
PhilRice Engr. Kristine S. Pascual said “dikes and irrigation canals must be fixed to make sure that the water flows to the drainage or any impounding structure” as rice cannot be submerged in water for a long time.