THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said it is negotiating with the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to “repurpose” some projects to help augment the water supply.
In a statement on Wednesday, Environment Undersecretary Carlos Primo C. David said the DPWH’s budget of P276 billion, which includes flood control works, can help ensure more water is available.
“We’ve been talking to NIA and the DPWH if we can, perhaps, repurpose some of the (flood control) projects so they can no longer be just dikes but actually impounding projects, small hydro dams, and reservoirs for water supply of communities and irrigation,” Mr. David was quoted as saying at a forum hosted by Stratbase ADR on Monday.
During the forum, Mr. David said his department has completed mapping all the rivers, creeks, and streams in the country. “For each and every segment or tributary of the rivers in the Philippines, we now have a computation of the volume of water per segment.”
He noted that dike projects at the San Cristobal River in Calamba, Laguna amounting to P744 million have the potential to become impounding projects to add to the water supply. “Just think, how much we can do if these were to become a water supply project.”
NIA Administrator Eduardo G. Guillen said that the agency has a partnership with the DENR on climate change mitigation and with the DPWH on climate change adaptation projects.
Mr. Guillen said that NIA helped the DPWH design P1.5 billion worth of sabo dam projects in Cagayan Valley, which will also include diversion dams.
“The total (amount) of our initial convergence for 2023 is P1.5 billion — three P500 million projects… all sabo dams (which will serve as pilot projects,” he told BusinessWorld via phone.
A sabo dam accumulates sediment in the upstream portion of a watercourse in order to minimize sediment flow. Diversion projects draw water directly from the flow of rivers or streams.
Mr. Guillen estimated that construction may start in August for completion by the end of next year.
“We helped in making the surveys so that the elevation of the structure will hit canals. We also helped the DPWH in designing the gate where the water will run through,” he said.
Mr. Guillen said that the projects will help serve as sources of clean and potable water and irrigation.
He said that the DPWH will also build impounding dams as part of its water management flood control project. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera