|DENR eyes on additional water catchments|
|Written by Liz Navera, Bicol Pulse|
|Wednesday, 04 September 2013 09:00|
As an immediate solution to flood disasters and to enable irrigation in downstream areas during dry season, Secretary Environment and Natural Resources Ramon J.P. Paje gives his full support following the construction of additional water catchments in upstream portions of the country.
The establishment of additional catchments or small water impounding dams or SWIDs will not only guide the physical expansion but also help improve
the country’s resiliency to global warming and climate-related disasters, which is part of the physical development plan proposed by the Cabinet cluster on climate change, said Paje.
Rainwater harvesting facilities like SWIDs are efficient for managing rainwater, which can be utilized as a supplementary source of water for irrigation. “Rainwater can be managed as a resource if it is captured upstream and use it during summer for agriculture,” Paje said.
Paje referred to the case of the municipality of Muñoz in Nueva Ecija as an instance of how rainwater can be advantageous to an agricultural community by significantly increasing its rice production.
Meanwhile, the environment chief said that the government, through the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), is planning to construct a water catchment dam in the upstream area of the Marikina watershed.
He said the proposed water catchment dam dually functions as a flood-mitigating measure to intensify the level of preparedness of threatened communities neighboring the watershed area and as a source of irrigation water during the summer.
“The idea is to catch the water when it is available and to release it when it is needed like, for example, during the dry season for agriculture use,” Paje explained.
However, Paje elucidated that the establishment of SWIDs and other water catchment facilities was only added to the general objective of enhancing the containing capacity of the country’s watershed areas through massive and sustained reforestation under the Aquino administration’s National Greening Program.
“In the short term, SWIDs can enable us to achieve this but the ideal is still to bring back the forest cover in our watershed areas,” Paje remarked.