Expert: ‘Clean up rivers and creeks’

With more rains pouring in the country, a prominent engineering expert expressed the need to clean up rivers and creeks to minimize flooding.

Civil Engineer Danilo Jaque proposed interventions to solve flooding issues in Metro Cebu during the Understanding Choices Forum – Ready for the New Normal Series organized by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc.

Metro Cebu covers the cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Carcar, Naga and Danao as well as the towns of Compostela, Consolacion, Cordova, Liloan, Minglanilla and San Fernando.

Jaque recommended cleaning up rivers and creeks to accommodate the return period for rains.

“Three to five years from now, the volume of floodwater flowing through the same drainage system during storms would most likely increase beyond its intended capacity. Thus, the need for clean up; if not, expand the drainage,” he expressed.

As an example, Jaque cited the flooded Metro Cebu after a heavy downpour last July 1.

He explained that constricted rivers and creeks as well as silt, mud and garbage in drainage systems caused the overflow of water.

He added that flooding happened due to absence of a drainage trunk that should connect to the river.

“Only 30 to 50 percent of drainage systems in Metro Cebu are functional. The rest are badly clogged up with mud and garbage,” Jaque revealed.

He suggested local government leaders to formulate a comprehensive and integrated storm water and drainage development framework for Metro Cebu.

Main drainage trunks are needed for heavily-flooded areas like the North Reclamation Area, AS Fortuna St. in Mandaue City; Banilad-Talamban road; and downtown areas, said Jaque.

He pointed out the importance of keeping main road networks free from flood waters for transportation and public activity to continue despite the rains.

As for upstream controls, Jaque recommended building dams, lagoons and infiltration basins as well as implementing land use regulation to control informal settlers and putting up storm water controls such as cisterns.

Non-structural anti-flood measures include watershed management such as reforestation, land use regulation to identify open spaces as catch basins, and solid waste management, he added.

Jaque holds a masteral degree in civil engineering from the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok, Thailand and a PhD on Civil Engineering with expertise on water from New South Wales Australia. (Fides Palicte)