Dam Proponent claims no adverse effects to CDO’s White Water Rafting
There will be no adverse effects to Cagayan de Oro’s white water rafting industry from a planned hydroelectric project which will dam the Cagayan River’s flow.
In fact, the Bulanog-Batang dam would rather enhance the industry by making white water rafting possible during extreme weather with bigger and faster rapids upon request.
This was the gist of a presentation made to the Cagayan de Oro City Tourism Council (CTC) by project proponent GREENERGY Development Corp. last week at the City Mayor’s Office conference room.
“The White Water Rafting area is far below the Bulanog Batang hydro project area,” said Engr. Cerael C. Donggay, president and CEO of GREENERGY and project director of the 150MW Bulanog-Batang Hydro Project, in a presentation made recently to the Cagayan de Oro City Tourism Council at the city mayor’s office conference room.
“The nearest is Stage 3 of White Water Rafting Stretch which is still below the project area,” he added.
Engr. Donggay said the only stretch of the Cagayan River that will have reduction of water flow is the 3.8 km portion of the Power Tunnel directly below the dam to the Power House tailrace. However, he clarified there are no white water rafting being conducted in this area.
He added further that although a substantial volume of water is diverted to the 3.8 kilometer (km) Power Tunnel, all of it is later restored to the Cagayan River within the project area after the power house tailrace.
Some members of the CTC, especially white water rafting outfitters, previously expressed fears that the city’s white water rafting industry could be adversely affected by the dam project since it would control the volume and flow of water in the Cagayan River once it starts operating in 5 years.
However, Mr. Donggay assured these fears are unfounded.
“White Water Rafting Business could be made more exciting and thrilling because of huge water volume of 82,000,000 cubic meters impounded above the Dam,” he explained.
In a slide in his presentation titled “Water Flow vs. % of time, Mr. Donggay showed that the minimum flow of water the dam would be releasing during its operations is 30 cubic meters per second (cms) whereas white water rafter outfitter concur a minimum flow of 20 CMS would be sufficient for year round white water rafting.
Mr. Donggay explained the dam would be impounding water during night time when white water rafting tours are not allowed, thereby allowing it to pool water during times of drought climate conditions which will ensure the 24/7 operations of white water rafting outfitters during daytime.
However, he further clarified that this requires “utmost operational coordination between the plant operator, white water rafting outfitters and the system operator of the Mindanao Grid which is at present the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and the establishment of a ‘operational protocol’ agreement signed by all parties to make it work.
The 120-meter high dam is expected to be completed in five years at the junction of the Bulanog and Batang Rivers which feed into the Cagayan River. A cross section of the project presented by Mr. Donggay shows that 26-million cu.m. (32 percent) of the dam’s total reservoir capacity of 82-million cu.m. Is ‘active storage’.
Active or live storage is the portion of the impounded water in a dam’s reservoir that can be utilized for flood control, power production, navigation and downstream releases.
Thus, Mr. Donggay said the dam could further contribute to preserving the white water rafting routes downstream from extreme weather disturbances such as Tropical Storm Sendong in 2011 and Typhoon Pablo and 2012 which adversely affected white water rafting operations in their aftermath.