Iloilo water crisis looms due to heavy siltation in Maasim watershed

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The heavy siltation at the Maaasin watershed here in Maasin town is alarming, said the general manager of the Metro Iloilo Bulk Water Supply (MIB) on Tuesday.

Rolixto Jodieres Jr. said there has been continuous accumulation of silt in the 6,150 hectares watershed that led to obstruction of raw water intake and reduction in the raw water extracted at the dam.

He added that it also affected the production of their treatment plant based in Sta. Barbara town.

He attributed the accumulation of silts to weather conditions and increased human activities in the area.

“Maasin watershed supplies 55 percent of the potable water to Iloilo City and adjacent municipalities serviced by the Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD),” he said.

Jodieres said that they source 35,000-40,000 cubic meters of water from the watershed daily.

Jodieres said that they implemented a P3.6 million desilting project at the watershed last year in partnership with the MIWD as an immediate solution to remove all suspended elements in the watershed.

Meanwhile, Imelda Magsuci, General Manager of MIWD, said that siltation, water quality and sustainability are among the concerns they wanted to address at the watershed.

“On the side of MIWD, there should be an integrated watershed management program. There should be one agency to take the lead with other sectors and unite to help maintain the watershed,” she said

Magsuci said that aside from the Protected Area Management Board, a multi-sectoral organization wherein Department of Environment and Natural Resources, other government agencies like the National Irrigation Administration and Department of Agriculture as members may be tapped to help.

“The farming upstream needs to be corrected or addressed because it affects the water quality downstream,” she said.

Initially, Jodieres said that he already presented the concern to the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office.

He said that the department committed to also create a program that would address the problem at the watershed.

MIB is a joint venture firm of the Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD).

Jodieres said that they wanted to implement a “comprehensive watershed management program” to address the concern at the watershed.

The program will convene all concerned stakeholders so they could lay down long-term initiatives to maintain the dam.

He hoped that their call for a comprehensive management program will soon be realized to maintain the watershed. (PNA)