The Sinocolan-Dagupan River System (SDRS) in Pangasinan province was established by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as another Water Quality Management Area (WQMA).
This establishment is in line with the government efforts to speed up the rehabilitation of important rivers in the country that face threat from development activities.
DENR Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje also called for the creation of a multi-sectoral governing board that will oversee the management of the water quality of SDRS, in compliance to DENR Administrative Order 2011-14, dated November 23, 2011.
The governing board to oversee the quality of water in the SORS will determine the level of contamination from development activities, if beyond acceptable levels.
It will be based on the results of a four-month long monitoring activity conducted in 19 sampling stations between January to April this year.
The SDRS designation brings to seven the number of WQMAs existing in the country, which includes the Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando river system and areas within Laguna Lake Development Authority’s jurisdiction in Luzon; the Tigum-Aganan watershed and the Iloilo-Batiano river system in the Visayas; and the Silway River and the Sarangani Bay in Mindanao.
The Sinocalan, whose development activities are predominantly for aquaculture, agriculture and domestic purposes - snakes through the municipalities of Binalonan, Sta. Barbara, Calasiao, Mangaldan, Malasiqui and Binmaley and the cities of Urdaneta, San Carlos and Dagupan before eventually draining into the Lingayen Gulf.
Paje said that SDRS case amplifies their call to urgently act on the dying conditions of the country’s important water bodies.
He stressed that designing WQMA’s will enable concerned officials in the national and local levels to take focused interventions on specific water quality issues relevant to a particular locality.
The WQMA governing board chaired by the DENR representative is composed of Mayors and Governors of concerned LGUs and representatives of relevant government agencies, duly registered non-government organizations, water utility sector, and the business sector. Estrella Z. Gallardo, PSciJourn MegaManila