BAGUIO CITY: The Environment and Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources–Cordillera Administrative Region (EMB-DENR-CAR) recently met with concerned local government units, agencies and private partners to save the Bued River.
The river that spans the towns of Tuba and Itogon in Benguet, and this city before heading downstream to Sison, Panga–sinan, is currently classified as Class C, meaning it is fit for irrigation, recreation and industrial purposes only.
However, EMB-DENR-CAR Regional Director Oscar Cabanayan wants to improve the river’s present water quality and bring back its original classification by designating it as a Water Quality Management Area (WQMA). These areas are subject to rehabilitation efforts aimed at improving water quality.
Engineer Raul Cubangay, EMB-DENR-CAR water quality specialist, said this could be done if there is enough data on monthly water sampling and the river is closely monitored.
They must also take into account lingering problems that threaten the river system like traces of mercury and cyanide due to small-scale mining activities, solid waste management, siltation from sand and gravel operations, and constriction from the overflow of septic tanks and other liquid wastes.
Cubangay added that good maps are also needed to identify waterways, reservations, alienable and disposable lands, and other tenements as well as historical accounts for Bued River to be classified as a WQMA.
So far, only the Balili River in the Cordillera Region has been designated as a WQMA. This covers Baguio City, the towns of La Trinidad and Sablan in Benguet, and Tublay.