Thursday, March 24, 2011

Efforts to rehabilitate Buhisan watershed stressed

Efforts to rehabilitate Buhisan watershed stressed 
Manila Bulletin
March 24, 2011

CEBU CITY, Philippines -- Cebu joined the country in marking World Water Day yesterday, with calls made to rehabilitate the city’s 100-year-old groundwater surface source so as to maximize its potential of providing adequate water supply to Metro Cebu’s growing population.

The 27-meter high Buhisan Watershed Dam that was built in January 3, 1911 turned 100 years old this year. Its turning a century old was marked by a “Save the Buhisan Watershed Project Donors’ Recognition and Forum at the watershed site.

Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD) General Manager Engr. Armando Paredes said the Buhisan reservoir has been providing water for the Cebuanos for 10 decades now and “sustaining it is essential for Cebu’s increasing population as the dam is tapped by the MCWD to supply water to Metro Cebu residents and establishments.”

Paredes said public-private partnership (PPP) is vital in ensuring the rehabilitation, preservation and conservation of the 630 hectare-watershed area.

Donor-partners of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) supportive of the ''Save the Buhisan Watershed'' Project were given recognition in yesterday’s activity.

Since the project was launched three years ago, the PBSP has pooled R5.6 million from its donor-partners to fund several projects within the watershed site. Four projects have been launched, namely, the Buhisan Watershed and Forest Reserve Nature Center, Two-Pond Storm Water Catchment System, Central Nursery of Indigenous Tree Seedlings and the Butterfly Sanctuary.

Jose Antonio Aboitiz, PBSP Visayas Executive Committee Chairman said the ''Save the Buhisan Watershed'' Project is “one of the environmental-related response of the Cebu business community” to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals of which the Philippines is one of 189 member-signatories.

Aboitiz said since this year has been declared International Year of the Forest, “the time is indeed ripe” to strengthen forest management conservation within the watershed area.

“The Buhisan Watershed plays an actual and symbolic role in Metro Cebu as the volume of water it supplies benefits about 2,500 households within Metro Cebu areas,” Aboitiz said.

He said, however, that the reservoir’s potential water supply capacity has not been maximized and that in order to capitalize its full potential, rehabilitation is a must so it could be brought back to its original condition a century ago.