Sunday, June 16, 2013



Friday, 07 June 2013 18:25 |

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has designated the Lake Buhi Watershed in Bicol region as a water quality management area (WQMA) in a bid to protect the water body that is home to the famous ‘sinarapan’, known as the world’s smallest commercially harvested fish.
The designation of the 15,511-hectare watershed in the town of Buhi, Camarines Sur as WQMA was made through DENR Administrative Order No. 2013-16 issued by Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje on May 27, bringing the total number of WQMAs nationwide to 16.
“The sheer number of WQMAs designated so far speaks well of the government's resolve to improve the conditions for inclusive sustainable growth by establishing efficient resource-use policies that promote high employment economy with social and territorial cohesion,” Paje pointed out.
He said the administrative order aims to protect and improve the water quality of the lake – an important source of livelihood among local residents – pursuant to Republic Act No. 9275, or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004.
Aside from the ‘sinarapan’, Lake Buhi is also inhabited by other marine organisms such as Irin-irin, dalag, puyo, kotnag, burirawan, native catfish and tilapia.
The forest surrounding the lake serves as a sanctuary to at least 25 bird species, including the endemic Philippine pygmy woodpecker, hanging parrot, black-naped monarch, elegant tit and white-eared brown dove. Other fauna found in the forest are flying lizards, skinks, monitor lizards, civet cats, bats and the Philippine cynomolgus monkey.
At present, the lake is the main source of water supply for the National Power Corporation’s hydroelectric plant. It is also used by the National Irrigation Administration to wet farmlands in the surrounding areas.
Paje said designating WQMAs would enable concerned officials both in the national and local levels to take focused interventions on specific water quality issues relevant to a particular locality.
Under the Clean Water Act, the DENR, in coordination with the National Water Resources Board, is mandated to designate certain areas as WQMAs using appropriate physiographic units such as watershed, river basins, or water resources regions to effectively enforce its provisions and improve the water quality of water bodies.
The law seeks to provide a decentralized management system for water quality protection and improvement of river systems.
Likewise, the DENR is tasked to create a governing board for each WQMA, which is chaired by a regional director of the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB). Its members include the mayor and governor of the concerned local government unit and representatives of relevant national government agencies, duly registered non-government organizations, and business and water utility sectors.
The governing board serves as a planning, monitoring and coordinating body. It also reviews the WQMA action plan prepared by the EMB.
Under the WQMA, the DENR and the stakeholders address the water quality problems, sources of pollution, and the beneficial use of the receiving water body. They also determine what control measures to institute to effectively achieve water quality objectives or improvements.
Other WQMAs designated by the DENR include San Juan River River System which traverses Quezon City, Manila and San Juan; Imus-Ylang Ylang-Rio Grande River system, Cavite; Sinocalan-Dagupan River System, Pangasinan; Balili River, Benguet; Pinacanauan de Tuguegarao River, Cagayan province; Calapan River System, Oriental Mindoro; Davao River System, Davao City; Tumaga River, Zamboanga City; and Taguibo River, Butuan City; Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando river system and areas within the Laguna Lake Development Authority’s in Southern Tagalog; the Tigum-Aganan watershed and the Iloilo-Batiano river system in Iloilo province; Silway River and the Sarangani Bay in General Santos City in Sarangani province. #


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