Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Integrated river basin management in Mindanao pushed

A fisherman casts his net in a river in Maguindanao province in the southern Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / June 8, 2011) — With the rising threats of climate change, drought and other environmental risks, key river basin stakeholders in Mindanao are pushing for an integrated effort to protect and sustain the island’s fertile river basins and watersheds.

Spearheaded by the Mindanao Development Authority, key government agencies responsible for the management of Mindanao river basins are strongly pushing for a Mindanao-wide River Basin Development Roadmap that will guide towards a coordinated and sustainable river basin rehabilitation and management in Mindanao.

“Our water resources have been at risk and therefore a collaborative effort among all stakeholders is needed to protect and conserve our headwaters,” said Luwalhati Antonino, head of the Mindanao Development Authority.

Mindanao has eight major river basins - the Agus river basin, Cagayan de Oro river basin, Tagoloan river basin, Agusan river basin, Mindanao river basin (Cotabato), Tagum-Libuganon river basin, Davao river basin and Buayan-Malungan river basin.

The Mindanao River Basin and Agusan River Basin in Caraga region are among the two largest river basins in the region.

According to the Mindanao 2020 Peace and Development Framework, the region is endowed with rich ecosystems and dominated by fertile river basins and watersheds but these have been threatened by heavy reliance on extractive industries such as logging, fisheries and mining.

Mindanao 2020 said that watershed degradation in Mindanao has been largely due to heavy siltation, water pollution, unsustainable farming practices, and destruction of fish breeding grounds.

If not addressed, it will give rise to food security threats and hamper economic development. Mindanao’s total forest cover has also been rapidly denuded from 70% in 1900s to 23% in 1988 and down to six percent as of last year.

The island’s agri-based economy is also vulnerable to risks in rainfall change, El NiƱo and projected temperature increase.

The Mindanao 2020 highlights the need for Mindanao’s archipelagic economy to adopt an ecosystem-based approach to development planning which underscores the importance of looking at economic development and responsible stewardship of the environment as a way towards sustainable development.

“Even as we push for industrial or agribusiness development, all of these will be put to waste without protecting and ensuring sustainability of our environment,” said Joan Barrera, Supervising Economic Development Specialist of the Mindanao Development Authority.

She added that an integrated River Basin Development and Management roadmap for Mindanao anchored on the Mindanao 2020 is seen to pave the way for the conduct of studies as well as formulation of river basin programs and policies.

1 comment:

Mariel said...

I hope that they will make actions and solutions to these already foreseen problems. Last year, the country has been affected by drought and water insufficiency. I hope it wouldn't happen again now that they already see this possibilities.

Mariel from Cagayan de Oro (