SIX teams of combined civil engineering students of the University of San Carlos (USC) and two Dutch universities have proposed solutions to augment water resources and rehabilitate polluted portions of the Guadalupe and Mahiga Rivers.
The students, with the guidance of their respective professors during their studies, presented their proposals during the culmination of the River Scan Challenge (RSC) 2019 on Oct. 22, 2019, at St. Mark Hotel, Cebu City,
An offshoot of the Climate Scan Challenge, the RSC is a joint program of USC and the Cebu City Government with Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences (RUAS) and Hanze University of the Netherlands.
The Cebu Leads Foundation Inc. had organized the nine-day program, now on its third year, in coordination with the Metro Cebu Development Coordinating Board (MCDCB), said assistant instructor Kathrina Marie Borgonia.
RSC 2019 aimed to map the best management practices (BMPs) on river rehabilitation, raise awareness on ways of coping with climate change, scan of rivers for water quality improvement and flood management plans.
The recent round started on Oct. 12 when the City Government shared its current programs that involve cleaning, monitoring and rehabilitation of the 10 rivers within its periphery.
Engr. Joel Reston, officer-in-charge of the Cebu City Planning and Development Office, bared that Guadalupe and Mahiga Rivers, especially downstream, are polluted, full of rubbish and plastics.
Recent massive clean-ups point to dumping of untreated sewage wastewater from piggeries, as well as industrial and domestic establishments.
DENR representative Cindylyn Pepito also disclosed that the rivers they monitored contain high Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) and fecal coliform count, which can be attributed to the wastewater coming from the aforementioned sources.
Thereafter, the teams of Filipino and Dutch students studied solutions on how to ease the problem of water shortage while rehabilitating the polluted water of the Guadalupe and Mahiga Rivers.
Participants included three Dutch professors, 10 Dutch students, eight USC faculty members and 19 USC students.
They investigated the water quality, river health and plastic pollution of the upstream, midstream and downstream portions of the Guadalupe and Mahiga Rivers, disclosed Borgonia.
They used test strips and sensor to measure the qualitative parameters of the river waters and questionnaires to interview residents, she added.
Solutions they proposed included smart garbage bins in the slum areas near the river embankments, trash-benders and practices to better manage waste and sediments, relocation, and communal facilities.
A group proposed a dam with a rapid sand filter to enhance water quality and another a series of gabion dams to capture the water continuously flowing through the springs from upstream while minimizing flood accumulation downstream.
Another team proposed a biofence that stretches down to the river bed to ensure that the plastics and debris floating above and below the water surface are trapped, while another proposed a comprehensive program to educate residents about plastic waste, implement laws and cooperate to ensure water quality.
Representatives of the cities of Mandaue and Talisay also attended the culminating program when the future civil engineers presented their solutions. PR