State of Davao City Watersheds
Every June, Davao City’s stakeholders meet at the Watershed Summit to discuss the latest updates on the conditions of the city’s water sources and relevant issues regarding the city’s water supply and quality.
In case you missed this year’s gathering, here are the top 5 watershed issues discussed that we need to follow through to ensure appropriate agencies act on their commitments:
1. Ground delineation of watershed conservation areas is now on-going
Yes, in policy, Davao City has the Watershed Code protecting its watersheds. But on the ground, enforcement of compliance and violations to the Ordinance remains a challenge when there is no clear delineation and demarcation of protected areas. In 2012, ground delineation was initiated with a memorandum of agreement signed among DENR XI, City Government, DCWD and IDIS. However, this only covered 18.2 kilometers in 5 priority barangays. Since then, IDIS has lobbied with the City Government to fund the ground delineation of the overall watershed areas.
Forester Cris Asibal of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) reported that the Delineation of Conservation and Protected Areas within Watersheds of Davao City project has started last April. The project costs P19,672,500 and will run for 16 months targeting 800 kilometers surveyed and demarcated in each of the four phases:
|Phase 1: April-July 2019
|Toril District, Tugbok District, Calinan District, Baguio district (Total length: 798,846.62 meters)
|Phase 2: Aug-Nov 2019
|Marilog District (Total length: 800,554.10 meters)
|Phase 3: Dec 2019-Mar 2020
|Marilog District, Paquibato District (Total length: 796,147.30 meters)
|Phase 4: April-July 2020
|Paquibato District, Talomo District, Poblacion, Agdao, Buhangin District (Total length: 267,705.53 meters)
As of June 25, 2019, about 199 kilometers covering 12 barangays out of the 2,663 kilometers total areas have been delineated. Total concrete markers already fabricated are 943 pieces out of the 10,652 number of monuments needed.
FOR FOLLOW THROUGH ACTION: Bantay Bukid volunteers initially reported the use of sub-standards markers that may easily be damaged and will not last to fulfill their purpose for demarcation. We need to participate in the validation of the service provider’s outputs and follow-up on the final shape files of geo-tagged boundary markers overlaid in the existing watershed and zoning maps to ensure the project’s goal to aid enforcement of the Watershed Code will be achieved.
2. Integrated Watershed Management Plan for next water source drafted
Davao City Watershed Management Council required Apo Agua Infrastructura, service provider for the Bulk Water Supply Project, to come up with a watershed management plan for Panigan-Tamugan watershed, where they will tap surface water from Tamugan river. This project aims to address the shortage of water supply in the city as the current water source, Talomo-Lipadas watershed, needs to recover.
A series of workshops was conducted to come up with the draft plan. Participants who crafted the plan include Watershed Management Council, Watershed Multipartite Monitoring Team, Davao City Water District, Apo Agua Infrastructura, IDIS, VSO and Bantay Bukid. The group came up with the following goals in the plan:
- Goal 1: To maintain the existing water quality classification based on DENR Administrative Order No. 2015-08 or the Water Quality Guidelines and General Effluent Standards of 2016 of Panigan and Tamugan rivers. [Lead Agencies: DCWD and Apo Agua]
- Goal 2: To develop a plan that will effectively stop agro-industrial chemical contamination in Panigan-Tamugan watershed area [Lead Agencies: DCWD and Apo Agua]
- Goal 3: To declare by virtue of a City Council Resolution the Panigan-Tamugan watershed as a protected area which has the only alternative potable surface water source to Dumoy aquifer and to recommend that it be adopted as a watershed reserve by virtue of a Presidential Proclamation. [Lead Agencies: DCWD and Apo Agua]
- Goal 4: To provide the community with sustainable livelihood opportunities [Lead Agencies: CENRO and CAO]
- Goal 5: Ensure a sustainable water supply [Lead Agencies: CENRO and CAO]
FOR FOLLOW-THROUGH ACTION: Lead agencies are tasked to develop specific implementation plans for each goal. The plan, however, was developed with low participation from community representatives (only one Bantay Bukid was invited and only during one meeting) and no representative from indigenous peoples who are CADT holders in the Panigan-Tamugan watershed was able to participate during the workshops. Community consultations are necessary, and changes be made to respond to community’s concerns, prior to the approval and implementation of the said plan.
3. Laws enforced, but not fast enough
Watershed Management Council reported to have issued nine resolutions since 2018 including actions on reported violations to the Watershed Code.
But the biggest environmental violation committed in our watershed last year, specifically in the Kalatong Area, Sitio Tabak, Brgy. Carmen, Baguio District, has yet to be resolved. Illegal logging and illegal occupancy covering several hectares of forest areas were reported by communities in the Obu-Manuvu ancestral domain. The forest area damaged is part of the upper sources of the Panigan-Tamugan rivers, tributaries to the Davao river basin. The gravity of the damage in terms of number of old-growth, mature trees cut which acts both as carbon sinks and water regulator, seems to be taken for granted
Six months later since community reports on violations of PD 705 (Revised Forestry Code), this is what government agencies reported during the summit
- Watershed Management Council: Issued a resolution creating a composite unit of policemen, military personnel, Bantay Bukid volunteers, Representative from NCIP, DENR, and Obu-Manuvu Tribe to conduct monitoring, enforcement and reportorial actions for the WMC regarding forest loss.
Note: No updates yet on actions of government agencies in response to damaged forest.
- DENR XI: Creation of Investigating and Fact Finding Team, Installation of check points on possible entry points, Conduct of administrative proceedings, Filing of case Monitoring
Note: Activities were reported but no updates as to the latest status of the case or action/plan for damaged forests.
4. Upland communities tasked to protect, but yet to benefit from, water sources
Representatives from upland communities raised their queries to water service providers if they would ever be included in the plan and will eventually benefit from Davao City’s water that they have been protecting in the upland areas for years.
Yung pinaka-location ng treatment plant nasa Gumalang pero in reality, mahirap ang tubig sa amin.
-Nolan Enoch , Kagawad, Brgy Gumalang
Diri kuhaon ang tubig sa Panigan-Tamugan pero naglisod na mi sa tubig so unsa plano niyo diha tagaan niyo mi tubig or derecho niyo lang sa inyohang project?
-Noel Capadocia, Bantay Bukid, Brgy. Tawantawan
Both Brgy. Gumalang and Tawantawan are part of upland watershed barangays that IDIS have worked with since 2012 and have verified Bantay Bukid volunteers enforcing watershed laws and conducting continuous reforestation of watershed areas. To date however, communities rely primarily on rainwater and water from higher areas like Brgy. Carmen for household use and purchase mineral water for drinking.
This is what service providers said in response:
Apo Agua: We are DCWD’s partner for Bulk Water Project to build the intake facilities, harvesting the water in Tamugan river and treat it in Gumalang and then deliver it to the DCWD. DCWD is still the distribution facility. So delivery ng tubig is DCWD. But above Calinan, I don’t think will be served by DCWD.
DCWD on Gumalang: Brgy. Gumalang, Lacson and adjacent areas, we have lined-up projects finalizing the deep groundwater covering Gumalang water system source of deep well. Meron na kami na bibilhin na 2 hectares malapit sa Gumalang National High School. We are on the preliminary stage, mag-purchase ng lote, final negotiation with the owner, and after the purchase of lot, engineering design and exploratory of deep wells. Hopefully 2021 sana, pero natagalan dahil 2-3 years pa ang drilling
DCWD on Tawantawan: We have identified Level II water system for Tawantawan. Pinakalamalayo siya sa terminal point so mahirap sa operations and maintenance. Dadaaan sa barangay para sa O&M sa Barangay council na kukuha sa river and drilling for deep well. Naghahanap pa kami hindi pa napurchase.
Davao City is substantially a water-rich, ang wala is water facility; naa na ta 114 covered barangays; ning upland di nato maserve, naa tay cost na kinanglan bawion; ang iyaha gasto mabalik niya man dapat. Ang WMC isa sa permanenteng agenda, gusto niya na i-integrate tanang efforts. Hindi basta tubig, water district gihapon. Gitahasan sa balaod ang iba pang ahensya BLGU og DPWH. WMC asked DCWD to map and identify ang wala pa water supply then harmonize para mabutangan
5. No update for other watersheds
Concerned citizens remarked on the incomplete picture reported by the Watershed Management Council seeing that government reports only focused on one of Davao’s eight watersheds. While this year’s summit focused on Panigan-Tamugan watershed, being the next source of drinking water, stakeholders claim there should be report, regardless of how brief or bad the situation is, on the other watersheds.
Eight tanan ang watershed sa Davao, sino gaatiman? May mga Bantay Bukid ba didto? Sa-una tutok ta sa Talomo-Lipadas, karon ang Panigan-Tamugan naman. Pero what happened to Talomo-Lipadas aquifers? Unsa man ang threats sa mga wells sang DCWD? This is the watershed summit so we should know unta naa man ang iban, maski dili maayu kondisyon basta naa report.
– Norma Javellana, Sustainable Davao Movement
Gwapo atong theme. Hopefully next summit, we will be including qualitative and quantitative reporting regarding water resource (SDG 6). Naa na ta baseline para ma-compare nato, para naa ta basis so we can compare as stakeholders; what is the degree of 1-10 what is our level pila na ka barangays ang nacapacitate on watershed protection? What concrete measure and what can be done to address the threats?
Cristy Gallano, Davao River Basin
These questions addressed to the panel opened up discussions on the need to revive the Barangay Watershed Management Councils, crucial part of the Watershed Management Council structure, tasked to implement the Watershed Code on the ground in all watersheds of Davao City.
City Health Office/WMMT: Good question about 8 watersheds, it has raised our consciousness about whole Davao City. We should not only be confined in this specific watershed.
CENRO/WMC: Ang barangay ang una magbantay sa atoang ubang watersheds; it follows na ang iban nga watershed areas ubanon ang Bantay Bukid, maski naa ang barangay tanod. Unta Next summit na, maka-prepare na ang BWMC mag-present sang ilahang report.
IDIS: Sa pagkakaron, nagkahiusa pero kulang pa ilabi na sa coordination sa tibuok Davao City. Ang pag-organisa ug pagpalihok sa BWMC kay natulog sila sa pagkakaron, kinahanglan pukawon/matahon; unta maka-submit na sila og composition sa BWMC structure; giuluhan sa barangay kapitan, vice Chair ang head sa Committee on Environment; mapadasig nato, kitang tanan diri magtinabangay.