DOST-PCIEERD, Ateneo de Manila University launch Philippine Groundwater Outlook website

Published February 14, 2021, 9:40 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) and the Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) have launched the Philippine Groundwater Outlook (PhiGO) website, which seeks to mitigate the adverse impacts of flood and drought in selected areas in the country. 

This was disclosed by DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña in his weekly report on Friday, Feb. 12.

According to him, researchers from the AdMU, with the support from DOST-PCIEERD, have developed a decision support system in monitoring the groundwater quality and quantity in nine highly urbanized water critical cities in the country.

The three-year Philippine Groundwater Outlook (PhiGO) project is led by Dr. Ma. Aileen Leah G. Guzman, and is implemented in partnership with Dr. Andrew Barkwith of British Geological Survey (BGS).

De la Peña said the PhiGO  developed a web-based tool that contains information about well sites, daily reading of groundwater quality and quantity data, and a concise and clear description of the parameters collected by the groundwater monitoring system. 

Aside from the gathered data, the project will also assess, simulate and analyze the effects of flooding, drought, population change, climate change, and massive urban development in groundwater to produce a near realistic groundwater outlook for the next 50 years, he added.

“In a few clicks, residents of Iloilo City and Pampanga can have instant access to the automated and real-time monitoring of groundwater resources in their areas which were recognized as part of the nine highly urbanized water critical cities,” de la Peña said. 

Based on the study conducted by the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) with water constraints, the nine highly urbanized water critical cities include Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo, Zamboanga, Angeles, Baguio, Bacolod, and Davao.

“Through the collaboration, the locally developed sensors will be integrated with the United Kingdom-developed sensors to create a hybrid sensor monitoring water level and quality. Advanced modelling tools and techniques for groundwater assessment will also be shared and transferred to PH local experts,” de la Peña said. 

He noted that the website holds information that is required to develop new platforms in other water-critical regions in the country. 

“With this information tool, government, decision makers, businesses, and local communities can come up with local plans and programs in managing the water resources,” he said. 

The DOST Chief said the three-year PhiGo project is  focused on delivering consistent, accessible, and transferrable assessments of climate and population change on regional groundwater resources and their subsequent influence on flood, drought-risk, and socio- economics. 

It is a joint project supported by the DOST-PCIEERD and the Natural Environment Research Council of UK under the PH-UK Newton Agham Joint Science and Technology  Cooperation Program on Understanding the Impacts of Hydrometeorological Hazards in the Philippines, he said.