Wenceslao: Catchment basin

I CONSIDER the D’Family Park in Barangay Talamban in Cebu City as among the better projects of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) and Rep. Raul del Mar. The park, the construction of which was funded by del Mar’s pork barrel, sits on a property owned by MCWD. My family and I have joined a few outings there and while a swimming pool has been built in the area its attraction remains to be the wide patch of green where children could play with their parents.

It has been said that cities need to breathe that is why I also consider the improvement of Plaza independencia as among the better projects of Cebu City Hall. I still am waiting for the City Government and Cebu Province to resolve legal problems, if there are any, as far as Fuente Osmeña is concerned and finally rehabilitate the park. The place has, for years now, become a sorry sight.

Incidentally, the D’Family Park celebrated its 20th anniversary last Friday, May 31, 2019. During the celebration, MCWD general manager Jose Eugenio Singson Jr. announced the plan to build a water catchment facility inside the 16-hectare park. The idea is to convert the existing lagoon inside the park into a catchment basin to store rainwater. That, I would say is one of the more sensible proposals I have heard in a long while.

The park is at the foot of a slope. Although the uplands there is lightly forested, Not all of the rainwater that hits the slope is absorbed and ends up in the aquifer. Rainwater still flows down the slope contributing to the flooding in the vicinity. Trapping some of the water thus has two functions: minimize the occurrence of flash flood and store water and make this available for those that the firm is servicing.

“Our plan is, we will not use it (water stored in the catchment) during normal months so we can have enough water supply during the dry spell to replace the water that will be lost due to the hot season. By doing it, we will no longer experience grave problem on the effects of the dry spell,” Singson said.

I don’t know about the claim that with the catchment basin, we will no longer experience grave problem on the effects of the dry spell. It is probably a bit of an exaggeration. Still, the idea of building a catchment basin is a sensible one. Experts have long talked about the need to trap rainwater instead of allowing it to flow freely to the sea.

I hope the incoming administration of mayor-elect Edgardo Labella will follow MCWD’s lead and build as many water catchment basins as it can in the city’s mountain areas to lessen the occurrence of flash floods in the lowlands and augment the water supply especially during the already periodic dry spells. As Singson noted, that would entail studying the hydrogeologic formation and groundwater movement. City Hall may also have to coordinate with MCWD on the tapping of these water sources to augment water supply.

Private firms can also take MCWD’s lead and come up with water catchment basin projects of their own, wherever this is viable. And whatever happened to the ordinance requiring building owners to trap rainwater in their structures for future use?


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