WITH more than 2/3 of the country’s land area classified as watershed, which is equivalent to about 21 million hectares of catchment areas, watersheds should be protected and conserved.
Thus, in order to spread its significance, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 6 through the PENRO in Guimaras targeted the youth in the conduct of a Symposium on Watershed Conservation and Protection at Barangay Buluagan, Jordan, Guimaras just recently.
Forester Leonora Magno, Conservation and Development Section Chief in PENRO Guimaraswas the resource speaker during the symposium, she discussed about the programs and thrusts of the Department, the state of watersheds in the Philippines, characteristics of a watershed and its importance and the benefits people derive from it.
Barangay Buluangan was the fitting venue because it is the main source of domestic water supplied to the consumers from the said barangay going to Barangay San Miguel, Alibhon, Jordan, Guimaras. Students, teachers and barangay officials paid careful attention during the lecture.
Watershed is a land area drained by a stream or fixed body of water, whose tributaries have a common outlet for surface run-off.Itserves to capture, store and recharge groundwater, filter out water pollutants, and safely release precipitation or rainwater as to avoid flood events during severe rainfall.
“Watersheds should be protected against human or natural exploitation. Protecting our watersheds means protecting the health and well-being of everyone, both for the present and future generations,” DENR 6 Regional Director Jim O Sampulna said.
If watersheds are not protected against situations such as free grazing/forest fire, timber poaching, unregulated extraction of raw materials and minor forest products, inappropriate upland farming practices, severe erosion that resulted to sedimentation and siltation of rivers and wildlife poaching, they become critical watersheds.
A critical watershed is a drainage area of a river system supporting existing and proposed hydroelectric power, irrigation works or existing water facilities needing immediate protection and rehabilitation to minimize erosion and improve water yield.
In the Philippines, there are 142 critical watersheds and 11 of these are found in Western Visayas. (DENR-6)