Dagupan under water in 15 years, says mayorBy Gabriel Cardinoza
Inquirer Northern Luzon
DAGUPAN CITY—Rising sea water level and ground subsidence could put a big section of this bustling coastal city permanently under water in the next 15 years, according to Mayor Benjamin Lim.
“This is already the [impact] of global warming, of climate change,” Lim told reporters here. “You might have noticed that even when it’s not raining, when there’s high tide, some parts of the city, including the [business district], are already flooded.”
This is because, he said, the level of sea water is rising and the city is slowly sinking due to subsidence, or the drawing of water from the aquifer, which is not being immediately replaced.
This city, which faces the Lingayen Gulf, has 16 water pumps operated by the Dagupan City Water District.
Every morning since Monday, the city’s major streets, including the City Hall grounds, are flooded because of high tide.
City Agriculturist Emma Molina, in a forum last month, said at least seven villages occupying 40 percent of the city’s land area get flooded during high tide.
Molina said Dagupan has an average elevation of 1 meter above sea level. “Any high tide level above a meter would surely flood the seven villages, especially those along the main river tributaries,” she said.
Lim said he had elevated the ground floor level of his house twice by about 30 centimeters each time in the last 15 years. “And now, floodwater is beginning to reach our floor line again. So, it means that in the last 15 years, water level had increased by at least half a meter,” he said.
“Imagine this: What will happen to Dagupan after another 15 years, assuming that the water level continues to go up? A big part of Dagupan will be under water,” he said.
Lim said the flooding was also aggravated by the construction of elevated roads that impede flow of water to river systems. Seven rivers crisscross the city.
He said the conversion of fish ponds into commercial areas had also stopped the natural flow of water to rivers. “Our rivers are also silted, even if we have been dredging it,” he said.
He said one solution to the flooding would be to raise the city’s ground level by a process similar to reclamation. “We have to raise the level of our ground in Dagupan City. And to do that would be very expensive. But we have to adapt to the rising level of the sea,” he said.