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Cebu, Philippines Local News

Salt water intrusion now reaching Lahug
April 25, 2004

SEAWATER has already intruded into the subterranean areas of the city as far as barangay Lahug.

This was disclosed by the University of San Carlos-Water Resource Center to the Cebu Uniting for Sustainable Water Foundation Inc., in an open forum yesterday, which focused with the Integrated Water Resources Management.

Fr. Martino Alingasa, Executive Director of CUSW said that the intrusion of seawater is due to the degradation of the principal watersheds of Central Cebu and the worsening condition of the coastal aquifers depleted by over pumping together with the destruction of natural recharge areas by infrastructure constructions and other human developments.

Principal watershed areas of Central Cebu include the Mananga Watershed Forest Reserve in Talisay City, the Kotkot-Lusaran Watershed Forest Reserve, the Buhisan Watershed Forest Reserve, the Central Cebu National Park in Balamban and the Sudlon National Park.

The sustainability of water supply for the Metropolis is linked to the integrity of the Central Watershed areas and Coastal aquifers, which is the primary source of freshwater in the City. Alingasa said that the water tables are declining due to the overextraction of water from underground where fresh water is present, by the other unlicensed pump and well owners which is not monitored by the National Water Resources Board and the denudation of the forest canopy whose roots contribute much to the water table levels.

“Saline water has already mixed with our underground fresh water supply because there is an imbalance of the sea pressure into the inland, our source of water has already declined as rivers and lakes have already dried up and our watershed areas have been deforested and eroded,” Aliganga said.

Aliganga added that the proper maintenance of these watershed areas should be carried out with the planting of trees. He also added that there should be an implementation of proper waste management and riverbank stabilization to maintain the freshwater supply in the metropolis.

“Desertation (sic) could happen if we continue to abuse our forest lands and if we will not do our part in preserving them,” Alingasa said further. — Jasmin R. Uy

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