The Puerto Princesa City Water District (PPCWD) is targeting to do cloud seeding to stimulate rainfall on May 10 if the ground assessment will be completed before the planned date by the state weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) and if they can borrow an aircraft to help in the purpose.
City water district spokesperson Jenn Rausa said their office is still coordinating for the needed aircraft that will help in the weather modification to attempt an increase in precipitation — a procedure they have never done before.
If ever, the aircraft will be provided by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) through the Philippine Air Force (PAF).
“Actually, sa Davao ongoing daw po ngayon [ang cloud seeding] kaya ‘yong isang aircraft nila andoon. Kaya wala kaming mahagilap na aircraft from PAF kasi ‘yong isa nilang aircraft last week pa raw po ng May mamo-mobilize. Naghahanap pa rin kami ng puwedeng marentahan kung di kami mapapahiram ng PAF,” she added.
Rausa told Palawan News that initially, the operation was pegged by PAGASA at P2.2 million for 15 days of continuous operation but might also decrease because the rainy season is approaching.
She said the chemical that will be used will be known to them as soon as the PAGASA technical team arrives to conduct the ground assessment.
“Nagbigay po sila ng figure last time, P2.2 million for 15 days operation, pero di naman po kailangan na 15 days kasi magtatag-ulan na rin. Malalaman namin kung ilang araw talaga possible. ‘Yong gagamiting chemical, pagdating po ng technical people nila magco-conduct muna ng ground assessment… Ang gagamitin naman daw po na asin ay from Bohol ata, libre na ng PAGASA ‘yon sa office once na matuloy,” she said.
Rausa pointed out that they need the ground assessment result before they draw a budget for the purpose.
Rausa also said the PPCWD attempted to do cloud seeding in 2013, but it never happened since it already rained a week after they were supposed to execute the plan.
“Ang sabi ng PAGASA, before daw kami mag-finalize ng budget para sa lahat, bago talaga kami mag-exert ng effort kasi balak pa namin mag-conduct ng information and education campaign. Before daw lahat ‘yon, gawin muna ‘yong ground assessment kasi ‘yon ang pinaka-foundation nila bago mag-conduct ng cloud seeding,” Rausa said Wednesday after a meeting between the technical personnel of the PPCWD and PAGASA.
She said the technical personnel of the local weather bureau usually takes a couple of weeks to do the ground assessment in the watershed areas before conducting the cloud seeding operation.
But since the size of Campo Uno in Barangay Irawan is small, the number of assessment days that will be spent on the grounds might also be shorter.
The assessment will be conducted to check if the ground in Puerto Princesa City can hold the rain that the cloud seeding could bring.
Rausa said their aim is to have at least three to five rainfalls that can augment the water supply in their main water source in Campo Uno.
“Ang una namin usapan kahit tatlong beses, limang beses na hindi naman sunod-sunod na pag-ulan, pwede na ‘yon basta ma-replenish. Hindi man totally ma-replenish, ‘yong makapaglagay lang ng tubig uli doon sa source natin, makapag-supply tayo uli, pwede na ‘yon,” she said.
Counting on successful cloud seeding activities conducted in other provinces and cities that need water, the PPCWD is hopeful that it will work to bring rain over the city.
“Dito sa atin since ngayon talaga, evidence na hirap na tayo sa supply ng tubig, kaya ‘yon ang plea natin sa PAGASA kanina na sana matuloy ito dahil hirap na hirap na tayo… kung baga pa, said na said na ‘yong sources natin kaya itong pag-cloud seeding natin ay malaking tulong habang naghihintay tayo ng tag-ulan,” she added.