3rd Water Summit "cushions" impact of El Niño in Ilocos Norte

Apr 02, 2019 ...

The Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) through the Sustainable Development Center (SDC) and in coordination with the Ilocos Norte Water District (INWD), farmer and irrigator associations, crop grower federations, agriculturists, the academe, and other sector stakeholders gathered for the 3rd Water Summit at the Ilocos Norte Centennial Arena last March 15.

Officials and representatives of the Department of Agriculture (DA), National Irrigation Authority (NIA), and Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) were also present, thus yielding almost 300 participants.

Engr. Cynthia Iglesias, chief meteorological officer of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA) – Laoag City, oriented and updated participants on climate change issues and concerns, such as both drought and flooding, extreme heat, and even an increase in frequency and severity of tropical cyclones.

Meanwhile, Engr. John Teodoro, INWD manager, discussed issues on the supply of potable water and water safety and quality, tackling also the health risks to consuming contaminated water. This was followed by a session with Engr. Vic Dabalos of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) – Ilocos Norte on environmental protection, water management, and protection.

Dr. Marvin Quilates of the DA – Regional Field Unit 1 then lectured on good agricultural practices, organic fertilizer utilization, and best practices in water management, addressing primarily what farmers, irrigators, and crop growers could do hands-on in mitigating the problems arising from El Niño and other climate change effects.

Lastly, Dr. Nathanial Alibuyog, vice president for research and extension of the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) informed the participants of existing support facilities and programs available to aid in the sector's water management.

Mr. Edwin Cariño, head of the SDC, shared, "We have at least five measures that are readily implementable to cushion the impact of El Niño: rain harvesting, switching to short-gestation crops that do not require abundant water to grow – such as monggo (mung beans), watermelon, and pechay (Chinese white cabbage), the use of enhanced fertilizers having better water-retention properties, installation of pond liners to serve as reservoirs, and the use of gray water to avoid wastage and maximize water use."

The first Provincial Water Summit was held in 2014 to push for long-term water management planning and avoid any water crises or shortage in Ilocos Norte. This continues to be a priority bid of Governor Imee R. Marcos in ensuring sustainability of the province's agriculture sector and ensuring high quality of life for her constituents.

by Edison Justin Deus, Mizpah Grace Castro



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