Metro Cebu ‘at risk’ of severe floods-A A +A
Monday, February 18, 2013
CEBU CITY -- Metro Cebu faces the risk of flash floods like those that hit Cagayan de Oro and Compostela Valley if the government continues to ignore the degradation of watersheds and the local government units (LGUs) do not find ways to catch rainwater.
Secretary Elisea Gozun, presidential assistant for climate change, discussed this warning when she addressed the Philippine Rotary Concerns Forum at the Waterfront Hotel in Lahug, Cebu City.
As a first line of defense against flash floods, LGUs in Metro Cebu should require future building constructions to include water catchment facilities, Gozun said.
Increasingly devastating storms, floods and droughts are obvious signs that the climate has been destabilized while the world’s demand for energy and other natural resources keeps rising, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has said.
The ADB recommends expanding the use of clean energy, encouraging sustainable urban development, and managing land use and forests, among others, to cope with climate change.
In Cebu, Gozun said additional rainwater catchment facilities will also help the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) extract less water from the aquifer.
She cited, as a good practice, one developer’s six-level water catchment building in Fort Bonifacio, which she said has lessened flooding on Kalayaan Ave.
“Let’s go back to the old days when every house had a water tank to store rainwater for watering the plants, cleaning the kitchen, or washing clothes. We can reduce our water bills and prevent flash floods,” Gozun said. She is also former secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
In 1989, Congress passed a law that requires the Department of Public Works and Highways to build rainwater collectors or rehabilitate wells, and make sure each barangay has at least one additional water source.
But to this day, the reservoirs, catchment basins or detention ponds required by Republic Act 6716 remain a rarity.
Gozun also said the local government units must be strict in requiring fully-cemented septic tanks for every toilet.
“We should have our septic tank dislodged within three to four years to prevent wastewater from seeping into the water aquifer. Unfortunately, most homeowners and building owners don’t mind about the health of the community and don’t dislodge their septic tanks,” Gozun said. (EOB/Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 18, 2013.