Jalaur Dam to set Iloilo as ‘exporting province’

Former Ilonggo Senator Franklin Drilon, National Irrigation Administration (NIA)-6 acting manager Engr. Jonel Borres, and Yongoo Lee, project manager of the Daewoo E&C, visit the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II) in Calinog, Iloilo on October 18, 2023. (Photo by Mariela Angella Oladive)

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor and Mariela Angella Oladive

Former Ilonggo Senator Franklin Drilon emphasized that the operationalization of the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II) by 2025 will transform Iloilo into an “exporting province.”

Drilon said that this is on top of the promise of JRMP II construction of addressing food security and improving the water irrigation of the province.

“Once the dam is completed and becomes fully functional from the present 100,040 metric tons of palay, it will increase to 300,000 metric tons per year. Therefore, we will not only be sufficient in terms of rice in the province, but we will be an exporting province,” the former Senate Minority Leader said in a visit to the site in Calinog on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) reported that JRMP II is on the cusp of realizing its 2025 operational target as it nears the finalization of key dam structures.

JRMP II has already attained 69.23 percent overall physical accomplishment as of the end of September this year.

Notably, two of the three central dams are now substantially completed. JRMP-II dams completed so far are the 10-meter Alibunan River Catch Dam and the 38.5-meter Jalaur Afterbay Dam.

Works are currently ongoing in the towns of Calinog, Lambunao, Janiuay, and Cabatuan, for the construction of the 80-kilometer high-line canal. The canal will serve as the main conveyance structure of JRMP II which connects the Jalaur Afterbay Dam to the main and lateral canals.

The 109-meter Jalaur High Dam, the impounding dam of the project, is already 106-meter high out of its structural height. The reservoir dam of the project is expected to store a volume of water estimated at 250.70 million cubic meters.

With its projected operation by 2025, the Jalaur Dam is expected to increase rice production in the Province of Iloilo to 338,874 metric tons per year equivalent to a 71.54% increase from the current production of 197,545 metric tons.

NIA is aiming for the mega-dam to provide year-round irrigation water to 31,840 hectares of farmland in the province, including Iloilo City, by late 2024 or early 2025.

JRMP II is also seen to augment the water and power supply needs of Iloilo where an estimated volume of water equivalent to one cubic per second is expected to be allocated for bulk water supply and 6.6 megawatts of clean energy is expected to be generated from its hydroelectric power component.

Meanwhile, the housing construction for the Indigenous Peoples affected by the project is now 95 percent complete. The housing project is co-funded by the National Housing Authority and the NIA.

There are 32 IP families who will each receive a resettlement house with a 35-square-meter floor area on a 150-square-meter lot.