Dutch Flood Experts could look at Oro Flood Management & Control

Jul 16, 2018

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Depending how an ongoing project on water management goes, Dutch flood experts could be tapped to evaluate Cagayan de Oro’s persistent floods in the near future.

During a recent talk during the 2nd Quarter General Membership Meeting of the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation, Inc. (Oro Chamber), Netherlands Ambassador to the Philippines Marion Derckx said its possible Dutch experts could be deployed to look at possible options to mitigate the city’s perennial flood problem.

Dutch Ambassador Marion Derckx addresses the Oro Chamber’s 2nd Quarter General Membership Meeting.

 

“The Netherlands is working with NEDA in Manila for development of a P75-M Master Plan for Manila Bay which will provide various options on how to integrate the interests of all stakeholders with the plans of the government, including flood control,” Derckx said in reply to a query during the open forum following her talk asking if Dutch experts could be tapped to help solve the city’s flooding woes.

“There is already a project in the field of water with Dutch experts which is about how you manage your river. If you manage that well, the other things will also be taken into account. Very often when the Dutch come in, many more will follow, who knows?”

MOA signing on Partnership for Sustainable Water Supply-Ridge to Coast, Rain to Tap

 

Dubbed Partnership for Sustainable Water Supply: Ridge to Coast, Rain to Tap, the project seeks to protect and rehabilitate watershed areas in Talakag, Bukidnon to Cagayan de Oro City. It also has a reforestation component designed to safeguard Cagayan de Oro from constant flooding due to the degradation of forests and lands upstream. 

More specifically, it aims to support upstream and downstream activities to mitigate against erosion and flooding and ensure safe and clean drinking water to consumers in Cagayan de Oro city; mitigate flooding through integrated river basin management; enable climate resilient and improved management of water supply infrastructure; and improve water, sanitation and hygiene conditions in flood resettlement sites.

The public-private partnership project is part of a multi-stakeholder collaboration among the Cagayan de Oro River Basin Management Council (CDORBMC), , Wetlands International (WI), Vitens Evides International B.V. (VEI), Cagayan de Oro City Water District (COWD), Unifrutti Group Philippines, FRRL Industrial Trading Corp., Hineleban Foundation, the Netherlands Red Cross and the Philippine Red Cross.

Of the 6,093.762 Euros total cost of the project, 50% will be subsidized by the Sustainable Water Fund (FDW) of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the other 50% coming from counterpart funds from each of the partners for their respective components of the project.  This project runs from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2022.

Cagayan de Oro and other urban centers and riverine communities have been experiencing unprecedented flooding over the last decade brought by climate change and unsustainable development practices especially in urban development and upland agriculture.

The Cagayan de Oro River Basin is the second largest river basin or watershed in Northern Mindanao, occupying an estimated area of 1,373.84 sq. km.

A water plaza in the Spangen neighborhood of Rotterdam in the Netherlands created to capture floodwater.

 

Relief aspect of the river basin indicates that it has a resistant basement rock formation and susceptible to erosion. Overall evaluation of the various basin parameters revealed that the inherent features of the river basin has made it naturally liable to flooding with anthropogenic activities exacerbating the extent of risks.  (Talampas,Cabahug, 2016)

At present, the Cagayan de Oro River Basin Management Council (CDORBMC) has been formulating a Master Plan to protect, preserve, rehabilitate and manage the watersheds, rivers, and forests of the Cagayan de Oro river basin.

High on its agenda is watershed rehabilitation and protection to ensure a steady supply of potable water for the expanding population living within its influence areas, as well as flood control.

A multi-stakeholder group of Government Agencies (NGAs), Local Government Units (LGUs), Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), civil society and religious groups, the council seeks to improve the quality of life of its stakeholders by upholding and implementing appropriate interventions to enhance better utilization of natural resources and to boost biodiversity along the watersheds and the rivers. It also encourages other stakeholders to participate in the formulation of management plans and strategies for the river basin.

Currently, the council‘s Board of Stakeholders acts as its policy-making body with the Executive Committee as the implementing body.

The BoS is composed of various agencies and institutions representing different sectors within the council. Meanwhile, the ExeCom is composed of Chairs of the council (ACDO, DENR and DILG), Chairs of each Technical Working Group (TWG) and the mayors of four (4) major LGUs/City within the river basin: Libona, Baungon, Talakag and Cagayan de Oro City.

Besides the Manila Bay Master Plan, the Dutch government is also coordinating with NEDA to help address flooding in Bulacan and Pampanga.

The Maeslantkering, an immense sea gate conceived decades ago to protect the port of Rotterdam, a monument to the Dutch mastery of flood control. is the world’s largest storm surge barrier.

 

In a previous talk upon the invitation of towns from the two provinces to share the Netherlands experience in flood control and disaster management, Derckx said the Dutch agency charged with these has a separate national budget and are not involved in the dynamics of local politics like in the Philippines.

 “It is now a challenge to all concerned to gather and discuss what to do. There should be unity in planning, action, funding, infrastructure, maintenance for the coming 100 years, and not just within the immediate years to come,” Derckx said.

“We love and hate water. We need water but it brings us destruction, we have to think of ways on how to deal with water during flooding and the dry season,” she added. (Estrope, 2017)

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