Cloud seeding under way—PAF

The Philippine Air Force confirmed Thursday that it will begin cloud seeding operations this weekend, as the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has released P18.3 million to the Department of Agriculture’s regional officers to address the El Niño phenomenon.

“[Cloud seeding] will be conducted supposedly tomorrow [Friday]. However, it was moved to Saturday or Sunday because we still have to prepare the airplanes. Initial [area to be covered] will be Cauayan [to save crops in danger of drying up in Isabela],” PAF spokesperson Maj. Aristides Galang said.

However, cloud seeding—a process in which substances such as salt are dumped onto targeted clouds to induce rainfall—should be the last resort in addressing drought, the National Irrigation Administration said.

Pilipina Bermudez, Department Manager of the NIA Public Affairs and Information Staff, said that cloud seeding is expensive and dependent on too many factors to work.

Pilipina Bermudez, Department Manager of the NIA Public Affairs and Information Staff, said that cloud seeding is expensive and dependent on too many factors to work.

“‘Cloud seeding should be a last resort, because it costs P1 million to fly an airplane [to do the seeding],” Bermudez told GMA’s News To Go program.

Instead, the NIA official suggested the use of shallow tube wells and distribution of water supply in irrigated lands on rotational basis as a better option.

The government will do everything it can to provide clean water for everyone, NDRRMC Executive Director Ricardo Jalad said.

“We want to assure the public that the government is doing everything to ensure adequate water supply for all,” Jalad said in a statement sent to reporters late Wednesday.

Previously, Ayala-led Manila Water Co. Inc. and Enrique Razon Jr. of the International Container Terminal Services Inc. were discussing the construction of a dam in Montalban, Rizal to ensure sufficient water supply in the east zone area.

According to Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System administrator Reynaldo Velasco, Manila Water is now negotiating with the Razon-Oscar Violago tandem to proceed with the new Montalban Dam or much improved Wawa Dam as a medium-term water source.

“Insofar as additional water coming from Wawa, it is a talk between Manila Water and the Razon group. That is the direction they are going and from what I gathered, Manila Water is being invited by Razon to form a JV [joint venture],” Velasco said.

The aircraft to be used for cloud seeding is the GAF N-22 “Nomad” twin-engine turbo-prop aircraft, PAF’s Galang said. The aircraft is now being fitted with cloud-seeding equipment at the Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base, Mactan Island, Cebu.

The PAF spokesperson said that “Nomad” will be flown by pilots of the 220th Airlift Wing while cloud seeding operations will be conducted by personnel from the 900th Air Force Weather Group.

Galang said it will be up to the Department of Agriculture to determine the priority areas for cloud seeding in the above-mentioned region and how long the operations will be.

“DA will be the one to determine [our] priority areas. As of now we will support their campaign in cloud seeding operations,” the PAF spokesperson stressed. 

READ: El Niño threatens 42 provinces; La Mesa at 21-year low 

READ: Government vows swift action to ease El Niño-induced water shortage​

READ: El Niño destroys P464-million rice, corn​

Topics: Philippine Air Force , Department of Agriculture , National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council , El Niño
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