Several Japanese and Philippine institutions are teaming up to conduct a study on water-related disaster risks and enhance flood management in the country, particularly in the Pampanga River basin and Pasig-Marikina River and Laguna Lake basin.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), along with International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management (ICHARM), Public Works Research Institute in Japan, and University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) are working on research for the project development of a Hybrid Water-Related Disaster Risk Assessment Technology for Sustainable Local Economic Development Policy or HyDEPP to help address global issues like climate change.
HyDEPP is part of the Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS) of JICA, promoting joint research between Japanese institutions and partner countries like the Philippines.
The JICA noted that aside from the pandemic, the Philippines continues to face natural extreme events and disasters every now and then.
Citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), JICA said these disasters and natural calamities have cost the country about P463 billion in damages from the period 2010 to 2019.
Studies also point to typhoons and floods accounting for about 80 percent of natural disasters in the country and typhoon season costing about two percent of the annual Gross Domestic Product on average.
“As the Philippines experiences floods and droughts in rural and urban areas, it’s important to assess the risks they bring. We look forward to seeing the results of this research translated to and reflected in the Philippines’ national and local government plans, programs, and policies,” said JICA Philippines Senior Representative Ohshima Ayumu.
According to JICA, the research is an important step to integrate data related to flood and drought risks, and thereafter analyze the factors that come into play in water-related disaster resilience such as flood and drought control, water use, environment, industry, agriculture, and fishery, among others.
Also participating in the study are the University of the Philippines Diliman, University of the Philippines Mindanao, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority
On the Japanese side, the University of Tokyo, Tohoku University, University of Shiga Prefecture, Nagoya University, and Kyoto University are among the major institutions that will take part in the project
JICA SATREPS projects are also being implemented in countries like Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, Peru, Thailand, and Malaysia, to name a few.
In the Philippines, other ongoing SATREPS projects include the Development of Extreme Weather Monitoring and Information Sharing System in the Philippines and BlueCARES (Comprehensive Assessment and Conservation of Blue Carbon Ecosystems and their Services in the Coral Triangle).
(This article, written by Roy Mabasa, was first published in the Manila Bulletin Website on August 6, 2021)