Upland communities conduct 3D mapping of Davao’s watersheds

July 16th, 2012 by

DAVAO CITY  –  For the first time, a detailed three dimensional (3D) map of the Panigan-Tamugan and Talomo-Lipadas watersheds will be created, with representatives from the upland communities taking an active part in its design and creation.

Around 78 representatives from 53 local barangays and the Barangay Watershed Management Council (BWMC) turned up at the  Tawantawan  ElementarySchool in  Barangay Tawantawan, Baguio District in  Calinan, last  Monday to attend an orientation on participatory 3D modelling and land use coding.

The activity, which was organized by the environmental non-government organization Interface Development Interventions (IDIS), signalled the launch of the two-week 3D modelling and land use coding activity which aims to creat a model  showing  the extent of land use activities in the Talomo-Lipadas Watershed, which is the present source of water for Dabawenyos, and the Panigan-Tamugan Watershed, the future source of the city’s drinking water.

IDIS Executive Director Ann Fuertes said that this activity will strengthen Davao City’s efforts to implement the Watershed Code.   “The output of this activity, which is a 3D relief model of the two watersheds, will further help the city’s efforts to delineate the environmentally critical areas of our watersheds by giving  a “bird’s eye view” of the whole environment, enhancing analytical skills and  broadening viewpoints , particularly on how the upland is interconnected  with the lowland.”, she said.

“This will be particularly helpful in dealing with   issues and conflicts associated with territory and resource use, especially in the implementation of the Watershed Code.”, Fuertes said.

Using USAID funds coursed through the Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE), IDIS commissioned the Philippine Association for Intercultural Development Foundation  (PAFID) to facilitate the activity. The PAFID, a nongovernment organization assisting indigenous communities, have long excelled in participatory 3d modelling, having used it with their partner indigenous communities for decades.

As a community-based tool, the Participatory 3D modelling combines Geographic Information System (GIS)-generated data and the local community’s indigenous knowledge to create a stand-alone relief model.  This provides stakeholders with an efficient and user friendly model which can be used as a basis for planning and management of the watershed areas.

Tawantawan Barangay Captain Danny Gumapac, who welcomed the guests to the activity, said that he cannot help but be excited for this activity  since this will help clarify issues of land use among upland communities.  “ I hope this will be able to help the delineation activity but the success of this modelling is dependent on the cooperation of all the barangays present in the watershed areas.  Together, we can make this model as realistic as possible with our total cooperation for this activity.”, he said.

The use of 3D models in the context of collaborative natural resource management is not new. Since 1997,  3D models have been used to support the  Ancestral Domain Claims of  various indigenous groups.   The Philippine government also uses this tool for its projects; currently,  8% of the initial 209 components of the National Integrated Protected Area System (NIPAS) have their own 3D models.

“When completed, the model will also be an excellent tool for raising awareness on the hydraulics of watershed systems”, Fuertes added, referring to the upstream-erosion and downstream-sedimentation effects.

Once finished, the 3D model will be turned over to the City Government which plans to display it in the People’s Park.  (#)