The Pampanga River Basin
The 4th largest basin in the Philippines and covers an approximate aggregate area of 10,434 sq. km. (includes the allied basin of Guagua River). The basin extends over the southern slopes of the Caraballo Mountains, the western slopes of the Sierra Madre range and the major portions of the Central Plain of Luzon. It encompasses the provinces of Nueva Ecija; part of Bulacan, Tarlac and Quezon; and almost whole of Pampanga. The total length of the main river, the Pampanga River, is about 260 kilometers.
The basin is drained through the Pampanga River and via the Labangan Channel into the Manila Bay. The main river is supported by several tributaries, the principal ones of which are the Penaranda and the Coronel-Santor Rivers on the eastern side of the basin and the Rio Chico River from the northwest side. The Angat River joins the Pampanga River at Calumpit in Bulacan via the Bagbag River. The Labangan channel, on the other hand, acts as a cut-off channel for the Angat River into Manila Bay. Somewhere between the middle and lower portion of the basin stands Mount Arayat, about 1,026 meters in elevation. Adjacent to Mount Arayat, across Pampanga River, just on the eastern side is the Candaba swamp, covering an area of some 300 sq. km. absorbing most of the flood flows coming from the eastern sections of the basin (western slopes of a portion of the Sierra Madre mountain range) and the overflowing of the Pampanga River via the Cabiao floodway. This area is submerged during the rainy season but is relatively dry during summer. At the lower sections of the basin, where the Pampanga delta lies, the Pampanga River system divide into relatively small branches, crisscrossed with fishponds to form a network of sluggish, tidal flats and canals, which eventually find their way to Manila Bay. The main river has a relatively low-gradient channel particularly at the middle and lower sections. With the anticipated completion of the Pampanga Delta Project (DPWH), it is expected that flood flows at the lower section of the Pampanga River will recede at a much faster rate than before.
The basin experiences, on an average, at least one flooding in a year. The dry season generally occurs from December to May, and wet the rest of the year. The wettest months are from July to September. The frequency of tropical cyclone passage over the basin is about 5 in 3 years.