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‘Dredging will not end floods’

Posted on February 8, 2023

Dredging alone will not solve the perennial problem of flooding in the province, a group of University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) alumni said in a statement circulated on social media amid the issuance of a resolution from the inter-agency committee (IAC) of the provincial government of Oriental Mindoro for river restoration and dredging activities allowing 14 private contractors to massively dredge seven rivers systems in the province.

The UPLB Alumni Association Oriental Mindoro Chapter, in a statement posted on their social media page, which was circulated on social media and was signed by its president, Jaime Nuevas, said that the association “always considers science as the fool-proof refuge in resolving issues affecting communities and society, especially as it concerns the environment.”

“On the issue of dredging, science has clearly established the relationships between dredging and floods. This relationship pointed out that, as a “tool” in mitigating and controlling floods, dredging, indeed, helps. However, science is unequivocal in saying that “Dredging is not a stand-alone solution to flooding,” the statement said.

The statement further said that dredging of rivers and streams can only work as a flood control measure only if it is done in conjunction with other essential activities such as reduction and retardation of inflows during flood events by improving the water storage capacity of watersheds. Sufficient forest cover must be ensured and the construction of dams and other water storage structures must be initiated.

The statement also suggested the scouring and overtopping of the river banks must be prevented through the construction of levees, revetments, embankments, and similar engineering structures as well as maintenance of green spaces consisting of tall grasses, shrubs, trees and other permanent vegetation.

“Toward this end, the Association is advocating the Integrated Water Resources Management System as contained in the Provincial Government of Oriental Mindoro’s Provincial Development Physical Development Framework Plan. The above interventions are also supported by the association as one of the components of the IWRMS,” the statement added.

In a message, Nuevas clarified that the group’s statement has nothing to do with the IAC resolution of the provincial government.

“We are reiterating that we already have issued a stand on dredging and it has already been several days since the issuance and nobody has yet negated such a position. In all likelihood, therefore, the position of the UPLBAA has been accepted by most, if not all, of the members of the association. There was also no mention of support or nonsupport of the IAC resolution,” Nuevas said in his message, adding that the council is composed of learned technical men well versed in governmental documentary and regulatory requirements and processes.


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