MANILA – The Magat Dam in northern Luzon will release water for power generation from March 5 to May 9 to help boost the available power supply for the coming national automated elections.

The water supply will continue during the period as the facility is scheduled to stop releasing irrigation water, with the current cropping activities in its service area over by then, acting head of the Flood Forecasting and Instrumentation Section of the Dam and Reservoir Division (DRD) of the National Irrigation Administration - Magat River Integrated Irrigation System, Edwin Viernes, said on Saturday.

The dam will have a water allocation of about 40 cubic meters per second (cms) for power generation during the period, Viernes said.

"That will produce around 25 megawatts of power," he said, noting that the production would help boost the availability of power, especially for the national polls in May.

Water in Magat Dam has been decreasing due to a shortage of rainfall over the watershed where it is located, DRD data showed.

However, Viernes said for January, Magat still has a normal irrigation water allocation of 160 cms to support nearly 86,000 hectares of rice farms in the dam's service area.

He said Magat's February irrigation allocation may be slightly lower as the rice plants are due for harvesting later in the month.

Magat will continue releasing irrigation water until March 5, then stop until May 9, Viernes said.

There will be maintenance work for irrigation facilities in Magat's service area while the dam is not releasing water for cropping activities, he said.

The DRD said non-release of irrigation water would help increase water in Magat.

The multi-purpose Magat Dam of Isabela, located on the Magat River at the boundary between the municipalities of Alfonso Lista in the province of Ifugao and Ramon in Isabela, is known for being the source of irrigation water and hydroelectric power.

The dam supplies electricity in the entire Isabela. (PNA)