CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija – At least PHP65 million worth of irrigation facilities within the service areas of the Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation System (UPRIIS) were damaged by the onslaught of Super Typhoon Karding.

Engineer Rosalinda Bote, department manager of National Irrigation Administration-UPRIIS (NIA-UPRIIS), said on Wednesday the figure is expected to increase when water subsides in the inundated areas of San Miguel, Bulacan province and Cabiao and Gapan City in Nueva Ecija.

"Kaya ito ay maa-assess pa namin once na bumaba ang lebel ng tubig sa nasabing lugar (Thus, we can only assess the damage in those areas once the level of water subsided)," Bote said in an interview.

She said NIA Administrator Benny Antiporda has been closely monitoring developments in the field with regular online meetings.

The initial assessment, Bote said, has been submitted to the NIA central office which, in turn, coordinated with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

Meanwhile, Bote said the mammoth Pantabangan Dam has been closed even before "Karding" hit this province and other parts of Luzon on Sunday.

She said rains brought by the typhoon contributed only a little over one meter to Pantabangan dam's reserve -- from 193.01 to 194.08 on Tuesday.

This was short of the three to five meters they expected from the super typhoon to boost requirements for the coming dry season.

"Negative pa tayo kaya during the typhoon ay nagpalabas kami ng advisory na nakasara ang Pantabangan Dam (We are still negative, that is why we released an advisory that Pantabangan Dam is closed during the typhoon)," Bote said.

Pantabangan Dam's spilling level is 221 meters above sea level.

"Anihan na rin po kasi at umuulan kaya talagang zero release po tayo para makapag-imbak para sa dry crop (It is already harvest time and it rains that is why we released nothing to store water for the dry cropping season)," Bote added. (PNA)