Saturday, October 8, 2011

Philippines revises rules on water discharge from dams

Leila B. Salaverria in the Philippine Daily Inquirer: After large areas of Bulacan, Pampanga and Pangasinan turned into veritable water worlds following excessive rains and the release of water from dams into clogged river systems, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje has ordered the drafting of a new protocol on dam management.

Paje said that with the changing patterns of natural phenomena, there is a need for the National Water Resources Board to review the protocol on dam management, including when they should be releasing water. “Climate change has caused every imaginable changes in our environment, from sea level rise to change in the weather pattern, frequency and strength of typhoons, flood course and high precipitation, which now constitute the ‘new normal’,” Paje said in a statement.

According to him, the new protocol should improve coordination among government agencies so that the release of water from dams would not aggravate flooding, and should also put in place emergency measures. “The new dam management protocol should fill up all loopholes in coordination as well as in implementing emergency measures to avoid situation such as what happened in Bulacan,” he said.

...The floods in Bulacan were aggravated by the release of water from nearby dams, which officials said was necessary in order to prevent a greater catastrophe should these dams break. Officials in Pamapnag attributed the prolonged flooding to heavily silted rivers, many of them made shallow by lahar from Mount Pinatubo....

Typhoon Nesat over the West Philippine Sea on September 28, 2011

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