CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY: The Lanao del Sur provincial government has created a watershed management council to ensure careful planning and implementation of the Integrated Natural Resources and Environmental Management Project (INREMP) activities for Lake Lanao River Basin.
The Lanao Basin Management Council (LBMC) was formed with five Sub-Watershed Management Councils during a workshop held in this city on January 9 and 10 with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Salma Tamano, public information officer, said the management council would serve as “governance and oversight bodies” for INREMP activities.
The INREMP is intended to protect, manage and develop the watershed of Lanao del Sur, which has a coverage area of 138,834 hectares, apart from three other major upper basins in the country.
Under a 2014 project blueprint, it also covers the Upper Bukidnon River Basin with 446,620 hectares, the Upper Chico River Basin with 405,894 hectares and the Upper Wahig-Inabanga with 62,853 hectares.
During the workshop, officials worked together to draw up an effective management system and better understanding of roles and responsibilities of the governing bodies created.
Gov. Soraya Adiong said “Lake Lanao presents many benefits to people, be they economic, recreational, aesthetic, cultural, educational, scientific and ecological.”
She added that “failure to protect [the]lake will have a negative impact not only on the lives of the Maranaos but to all Mindanaoans as well.”
Aside from being known as the source of six Agus hydro-power plants that supply 60 percent of the electricity in Mindanao, Lake Lanao is the habitat of 18 endemic species of freshwater fish in the country.
The provincial government and the DENR had signed a Memorandum of Agreement on September 21, 2016 to meet water requirements needed for hydro power, irrigation, fisheries and domestic uses and to sustain its biodiversity resources.
The agreement stipulates implementation parts of the INREMP, the funds for which were obtained through a loan from the Asian Development Bank amounting to $100 million and co-financing of SDR13.25 million from the International Fund for Agriculture Development.