DENR Assures Water Supply Ample, but Needs Management
Byline: Melody M. Aguiba
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has assured that with the Philippines' 421 principal river basins, the country has sufficient water resources to supply its needs.
The Philippines has adequate principal river basins to sustain its irrigation-domestic water needs, but it must efficiently manage surface and ground water and carry out efforts to reverse climate change.
Moreover, the country has an average rainfall of 2,400 millimeters (MM) per year, quite enough specially as certain areas in Eastern Luzon even experience an average high of 4,050 MM yearly.
Of course Southern Mindanao areas may experience a lower 960 MM per year. Yet, this is still on the high side as countries considered to have semiarid climate like India has less than 800 MM of rainfall yearly.
DENR has adopted a River Basin Control program in order to save the country's deteriorating river basins and thus spare flourishing water resources for its needs.
Degradation of river basins is blamed directly on removal of natural vegetation, over exploitation of vegetation for domestic and commercial purposes, inappropriate agricultural and forestry activities, overgrazing, poor water resource management; and unregulated land conversion.
Their destruction may also be attributable to rising flood and other waterinduced disasters, pollution as a result of urbanization, industrialization, and inadequate sewerage and sanitation facilities, and indiscriminate land use and land development.
Because of these factors soil lost yearly is estimated by DENR to reach to 74 to 78 million metric tons (MT), far higher than the maximum tolerable limit of only 12.5 million MT.
"Diminishing ground water resources has led to 20 to 30 percent reduction in irrigated areas since 1973; stream flow has been erratic; land productivity has been declining; biodiversity has been lost; and the microclimate has deteriorated," according to DENR. …