Thursday| June 08, 2017
For an island-province gifted with several springs with crystal clear water, Siquijor is water-starved.
This was one of the major issues raised by agriculture stakeholders yesterday during the Biyaheng Bukid Forum yesterday in Siquijor town which they said is affecting the food production program of the province.
I visited two of the major springs yesterday and I was awed by the crystal clear spring water and even the presence of the indigenous fish specie "Paitan."
Siquijor Governor Zaldy Villa said the province has about six major springs whose waters flow directly to the sea.
The absence of a system to impound the water and divert the flow towards agricultural areas and households has virtually wasted the island's important resource.
Yesterday, I committed to send our solar-powered irrigation system engineers to inspect the water sources with the purpose of establishing four Solar-Powered Irrigation Systems (SPIS) in the island.
The SPIS was launched by President Rody Duterte in M'lang, North Cotabato in March of this year and it involves the establishment of solar panels which powers a 10-horsepower Grundfos water pump capable of pumping out between 600 to 800 gallons of water per minute.
The water will then be stored in a reservoir and could be distributed by gravity through pipes to the rice and vegetable farms and even the households in the island.
It is the most practical option for a province which would like to preserve its natural beauty because the Solar-Powered Irrigation System does not require the construction of dams which would destroy the natural beauty of the spring.
The SPIS is also the most inexpensive irrigation system since there will be no power bills and very little maintenance cost.
When the Solar-Powered Irrigation Systems are established, Siquijor is expected to improve its food production capability and even export organic farm products to the near islands of Negros, Bohol and Cebu.
Today, the island depends on vegetables and fruits coming from Mindanao because of the scarcity of water.
Things will change soon simply because Biyaheng Bukid, the provincial sorties which the department has been conducting nationwide since I assumed office last year, enabled top agriculture officials to take a first-hand appreciation of the problems of food production areas of the country.