2 rivers, 2 lakes in Visayas, Mindanao eyed as sources of drinking water
MANILA, Philippines—Two rivers and two lakes in the country’s southern parts have been classified as potential sources of drinking water by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), an official said Thursday.
Lake Danao in Ormoc City, the upper reaches of Paypayan and Langaran rivers in Misamis Occidental, and Lake Lanao in Lanao del Sur, have been categorized as “Class A,” or whose waters “require complete treatment to meet national standards for drinking water.”
The DENR has classified 21 new water bodies for their best use, including the four rivers and lakes in the Visayas and Mindanao regions, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said in a news release.
The classifications were made through a memorandum circular issued pursuant to Republic Act No. 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004, which mandates the DENR to categorize water bodies – whether for coastal – according to their quality, area, purpose and vulnerability to pollution.
Some 691 water bodies have been classified by the DENR.
Fresh surface waters, which include lakes, rivers and reservoirs, are classified as “AA,” “A,” “B,” “C,” and “D.” Coastal and marine waters, on the other hand, are classified as “SA,” “SB,” “SC,” and “SD.”
The classification has been meant to help water managers and planners to develop proper water quality management programs and provide the standards to protect aquatic life and human use of specific water bodies, Paje said.
“With these classifications, we are able to determine the programs and activities to implement so that we can optimize the use of our water resources and make them beneficial to our welfare and health,” he said.
Under the DENR circular, the waters of Bancal River in Zambales and the upper reaches of Carigara River in Leyte were classified as “Class B,” or “safe for primary contact recreation or tourism purposes such as bathing, swimming and skin diving.”
The Linao River in Cagayan; Lamunan/Hinay-an River System in Iloilo; Anilao River, Pagbanganan River and lower reach of Carigara River, all
in Leyte; and the lower reaches of Paypayan and Langaran Rivers; Kematu and Sefali Rivers in South Cotabato; and upper reach of Guiahao-an River in Agusan del Norte were categorized as “Class C” or safe for propagation of fish, recreation and post-treatment manufacturing processes.
The lower reach of Guiahao-an River was classified as “D,” or “may be sourced for agriculture and irrigation, or for limited use as industrial water supply.”
The DENR also identified water bodies in the Visayas under “Class SA” or those suitable for commercial propagation and harvesting of shellfishes, and cover national marine reserves and coral reef parks.
These include the coastal waters of Barangays 3, Dalipe and Madraca in San Jose, Iloilo; and waters three kilometers beyond the Toledo-Balamban shoreline in Toledo City, Cebu.
Coastal waters that fall under “Class SB” or allowed for recreational activities like bathing, swimming and skin diving include those surrounding Maniwaya Island in Marinduque; Barangays 4, San Pedro, Mojon, Magcalon, San Fernando, Malaiba, Maybato Norte and Maybato Sur in San Jose, Iloilo; Albay Gulf in Albay and Sorsogon; and waters within three kilometers of the Toledo-Balamban shoreline in Cebu.
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