Flood control focus of DPWH after roads
MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will undergo a “substantial shift” to flood management once it is finished with road repairs and other related concerns, Secretary Rogelio Singson told senators on Monday.
Singson and other DPWH officials attended a hearing of the Senate public works committee to brief its members on the agency’s plans up to the end of the Aquino administration in June 2016.
Singson said climate change had made it “urgent” for his department to craft flood-mitigating measures involving entire government agencies instead of individual local government units affected by seasonal floods.
“More than simple flood control, we want to adopt an integrated water resource program to address the problem upstream of the river basins, which is the main source of flooding,” the secretary explained.
For example, Singson said, the Pampanga River starts in the mountains of Aurora province and flows toward Bulacan where flood waters inundate rice fields during the rainy season.
“With the river basins approach, we study where the flood water is coming from and whether we can retard the water upstream and not allow it to flow (south)… We need to optimize the use of river basins,” he said.
Singson said there were 18 river basins nationwide that needed to be monitored for the program.
By managing water as a resource, it could be used for irrigation, household and other practical purposes, he said.
To do this, Singson said the DPWH needed to coordinate with the National Irrigation Authority, Department of Agriculture, the mini-hydroplants and the local water districts, especially those in flood-prone provinces.
Singson told public works chair Ferdinand Marcos Jr. his department was “ready to discuss proposed bills to improve water resource management.”
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