A volunteer group that monitors the Panigan River, Brgy. Tawan Tawan, Baguio District has recommended the need to conduct a study in the areas along the watershed to detemine what caused the possible contamination on the water body.
Aian B. Gumapac, a member of Bantayo Aweg who presented the results of their water monitoring study yesterday, said the river might be in danger of contamination as the nitrate and phosphate level goes beyond the international standards.
Bantayo Aweg is a volunteer group composed of individuals based in Brgy. Tawan Tawan which has monitored the river since 2006 by measuring the temperature, color, pH, stream flow discharge and dissolved oxygen, nitrate and phosphate content.
“The river is still clear and has enough oxygen to support fishes but we are concerned about the level of phosphates and nitrates in the water,” he said.
Last year, the phosphate level in Panigan River reached to 0.5 mg/L while the nitrate level was above 1 mg/L. The river should only have a phosphate level of 0.1 mg/L and nitrate level of 1 mg/L to qualify on Class AA standards, the highest for clean water.
Gumapac said the existing monocrop plantations along the river should also strictly impose a buffer zone. The fertilizers used by the plantations, he said, could be among the possible contaminants of the Panigan River.
The river, which drains to Tamugan River, has been identified by the Davao City Water District as the future source of drinking water.
Lawyer Joseph Dominic Felizarta, officer in charge of City Environment and Natural Resources Office, vowed that they would strictly order the existing monocrop plantations and residents within the watershed to have a buffer zone of at least 40 meters.
“We can implement it using the Watershed Code,” he said.
The city government will also conduct delineation along the city’s eight major watersheds such as Tuganay Watershed, Lasang River, Bunawan River, Davao River, Matina River, Talomo Watershed, Lipadas Watershed and Sibulan River.
The program is to delineate the areas identified in the terrain analysis study of Mines and Geosciences Bureau which was conducted in 2005. It is also pursuant to the full implementation of the 2007 Watershed Code.
The Watershed Management Council, with representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, will conduct the delineation. They will mark the areas by placing signages if it is non-tillage, conservation or primary agricultural lands. (Kristianne Fusilero, Mindanao Times)