Plan to increase Imang Dam capacity
THE Department of Agriculture and Agrifood (DAA) has put forward a proposal to expand the Imang Dam in Mukim Pengkalan Batu to address irrigation problems of padi farms in the Brunei-Muara district.
In an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday, Acting Assistant Director of Agriculture and Agrifood Saidin Namit said the department plans to increase the capacity of the dam by 10 per cent.
The Imang Dam is used to supply water for irrigation in Wasan, Bebuloh, Panchor Murai, Batong, Junjongan and Limau Manis farming plantations.
Saidin, who is also the head of Agricultural Engineering Services Division, said padi farms in Brunei-Muara district would be able to sow crops twice a year once the project gets approval.
“The move will also mean that padi farms can commence crop planting seasons at the same time as currently they take turns planting their crops due to the lack of water,” the acting assistant director added.
Saidin said with the implementation of the proposed project, all padi plantations in the Pengkalan Batu area would be able to grow high yielding rice varieties.
Some padi plantations still plant traditional variety low yielding rice because high yielding rice need a proper and consistent irrigation system. The expansion of the Imang Dam is part of a tripartite of projects under the Wasan-Bebuloh Mechanised Rice Scheme to improve irrigation in padi plantations in Mukim Pengkalan Batu.
Other projects include the ‘Irrigation System Capacity Expansion’ that will include upgrading the holding ponds in Limau Manis and Bebuloh and the ‘Limpaki Seed Production Irrigation Pipeline’. All projects cost $9 million.
The acting assistant director said the Imang Dam can retain eight million cubic metres of rainfall at present. With the proposed expansion, the dam will be able to retain water up to 8.8 million cubic metres.
He added that the project will also include improvements in the water pumps at the dam’s pumping station that supplies water to the holding tank.
The assistant acting director explained that the holding tank is where the water will be distributed to all padi plantations using the power of gravity, as the holding tank is located in an elevated area.
The water pump, he said, is the main problem when it comes to irrigation of padi plantations in the Brunei-Muara district.
“The current water pump is not strong enough to cope with the demand of the daily water usage of the padi plantations in the area,” he continued. He said the current water pump is not able to replenish water in the holding tank fast enough to maintain a high pressure to ensure supply to all padi plantations in Mukim Pengkalan Batu.
Saidin said the water would easily reach plantations in the Wasan area as they are the nearest to the Imang Dam. “However, by the time the water is used up by padi plantations in the area (Wasan), the water pressure in the holding tank would be too weak to reach plantations that are further way, such as in Bebuloh and Batang Perhentian,” he said.
Saidin added that the department has finalised all the paperwork for the proposed project, but the implementation of the project will depend on this year’s budget allocation, which will be tabled at the Legislative Council.
The Brunei Times