DENR, Subic Conduct Watershed Study

OLONGAPO CITY - The Olongapo City government has started its watershed characterization study with the help of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Subicwater, operator of the water system in the city.

Beth Marcelo, Public Affairs chief, said the move is aimed at developing a master plan to wisely manage its natural resources, including a comprehensive land use program.

City Supervising Agriculturist Jhobal Sebarrotin explained that through watershed characterization, primary and secondary data in relation to the watersheds' socio-economic, biological and physical factors will be studied to come up with an integrated watershed management plan.

A watershed is an area of land from which all runoff drains or "sheds" to the same river, lake, or other body of water.

"Water systems are life supporting and a healthy water system is essential for a strong economy and a good quality of life so we must come up with an integrated watershed management approach to promote sustainable development," Mayor James "Bong" Gordon Jr. said.

CENRO lawyer Marife Castillo said watershed comprises around 70 percent of the city's bounds and the results of watershed characterization study will be significant to the sustainable management of these resources, including land use development. CENRO provides the technical assistance needed in the study.

City Planning and Development Office Engineer Marivic Nierras pointed out that the survey includes study of the flora and fauna, vulnerability assessment, socio-economic profiles of the inhabitants and water and soil samples from the watershed areas.

A watershed development study was also conducted in the city in 1985, the results and recommendations of which are being used as guide in the present-day survey.

Sebarrotin said the watershed characterization study will be finished in May 2012, and based on result, the necessary recommendations will be prepared immediately for the approval of the city mayor.