Establishment of gabion dams a pipe dream?

Cebu City map.
Cebu City map.

THE creation of a technical working group (TWG) to conduct research, design, build and establish gabion dams or other water impounding facilities as a water source for Cebu City is the first of many steps to make the project a reality.

The Cebu City committee on environment and natural resources, in a committee report on City Councilor Nestor Archival’s draft ordinance entitled Gabion Water Dam Ordinance of the City of Cebu, told the proponent to include realistic timeframes and deadlines in the delivery of the output expected from the TWG.

The committee pointed out that the idea to build gabion dams in the city has been introduced and suggested several times.

Archival filed the draft ordinance last Jan. 10, 2024, with the aim to sustain and augment the city’s water supply production.

One of its provisions is the creation of a TWG that will be responsible for the conduct of a feasibility study, including the preparation, identification, and design of gabion dams to be constructed in strategic places within the city.

The TWG’s responsibilities include the following:

• Identify strategic areas, particularly in the upland or mountain barangays, where there is an abundant surface water resource where gabion dams can be effectively constructed, such as but not limited to the seven major river systems in the city namely the Butuanon, Cotcot, Subangdaku, Kamputhaw, Guadalupe, Mananga, and Lahug rivers;

• Consult with experts on the proper materials, design, structure, and other features of a gabion dam to be constructed in the identified sites;

• Prepare a construction design; and

• Create a manual on how to build gabion dams, as well as manual containing all relevant information on the creation and construction of different types of gabion dams.

According to Archival’s proposal, the TWG should be composed of the head of the Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW) as ex-officio chairman; City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) head as ex-officio vice chairman; chair of the committee on transportation, communication and utilities; board member of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD); Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) head; representative from the University of San Carlos (USC) Water Resources Center; Department of Public Services head; Office of the Building Official head; and the city treasurer.

The committee on environment and natural resources suggested that the ordinance should strictly monitor the tasks assigned to TWG members.

The committee is currently chaired by City Councilor Joel Garganera with City Councilors Rey Gealon, Jerry Guardo, Donaldo Hontiveros and Jocelyn Pesquera as members.

It said the proponent should include the specific and realistic time frames and deadlines in the delivery of their outputs.

The TWG should also furnish a copy of all its deliverables to the City Council, most specially to the committee on environment and committee on infrastructure.

“Deadlines should be included in the ordinance to ensure that their duties are carried on time, and without delays,” the committee wrote on its report.

The committee has suggested referring the proposed ordinance to the committee on transportation and the committee on infrastructure for further comment. / JJL


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