#62 The Desert at Magat

click to enlarge

A dune-like landscape along the Magat river? Not!

We drove through the night just to be in the town of Ramon in the province of Isabela at dawn, the site of one of northern Luzon’s largest irrigation reservoirs. We knew that the water level would be low because of the El Nino summer, but we didn’t expect to see it this low. Do you see all those dune-like hills with striations on their sides? All of them are supposed to be under water. What? Yup, every single one. You see, the maximum water level is at the 193 meter mark.  This photograph shows what the reservoir looks like today, with nearly 40 meters of water missing… an eerie desert where a large lake was supposed to be.

The cyclical El Nino weather pattern is characterized by unusually limited rain, a direct effect of man’s excessive load on the planet. Unless it’s reversed, what in our generation is known as the Magat dam and reservoir might be called the Magat Desert in the future.

(Pixel-peepers: the image appears over-sharpened but it isn’t. The ground was so dry the thick lake-bottom mud cracked into random tile-like patterns. I am guessing the patterns were of just the right size to cause those artifact-like effects on my digital camera’s sensor. Note the floating shack lacks these artifacts. On another note, the light that morning was pretty flat so I attempted a black and white version to see if the soul of the landscape can be better revealed. Not! Enjoy.)

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