BY BOY RYAN B. ZABAL
KALIBO, Aklan – The provincial government of Aklan is facing the daunting task in the next 75 years of mitigating the perennial flooding of heavily silted Aklan River.
This was stressed by Dr. Ricarte Javelosa, supervising geologist of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) central office, to Vice Governor Gabrielle Calizo-Quimpo and the Aklan Sangguniang Panlalawigan members.
'WE PRAY TO GOD'
Javelosa presented his site inspection findings and site measurements, hydrological observations and flood interpretation data during the 26th regular session on Thursday morning.
“Kalibo town is exactly below the five-meter flood zone level. There is no way Kalibo can escape flood since the town is a flood-basin area, unless measures are consider on how to mitigate the 15-meter flood in the next 75 years,” he said.
“We don’t have to allow the extreme 15-meter high flood line to happen that would wipe out the entire urban landscape. Normally, the 15-meter high flood line is a 50 to 100-year cycle. We pray to God that it would not happen,” Javelosa added.
The geologist said Aklan experienced a 10-meter flood line last year when typhoon ‘Frank’ triggered torrential rains and mudflows in the towns of Libacao, Banga, Madalag, Lezo, Malinao, Numancia, Kalibo and Ibajay.
To protect and ensure that the town of Kalibo will survive the 10-meter flood risks, the provincial government should clean, widen the Aklan River and the garbage area in the downstream removed.
“There is really a need also to install the floodgates for Kalibo. Other urban centers like Numancia must be protected by well-maintained dikes. These are minimal, economical and doable measures in a short-term basis,” Javelosa said.
The high-end dredging of the mouth of Aklan River and the construction of a 100-hectare multi-purpose flood control dam in Barangay Polo in Banga, Aklan where floodwater exits into the headwater in Barangay Venturanza, Banga, Aklan are flood mitigating measures along Aklan River, he said.
Javelosa also stressed the importance of the construction of a 12-meter high concrete footbridge across the Tigayon Hill, a 20-meter high 500 meters in length footbridge connecting Barangay Polo to Barangay Rosario of Malinao, Aklan and in Barangay Daguitan for upstream barangays to prevent the impact of flood downstream and the drastic sedimentation in these areas.
A small artificial lake in the upstream of the floodgates as reservoir and a short-term blockade is constructed to regulate the flow of floodwater towards the ‘old’ Aklan River.
“The floodgates will allow the excess water to flow slowly and to prevent the instant flooding of Aklan River towards Barangay Mobo and other communities,” he said.
Another option is to ‘dredge-out’ the Aklan River and develop the mouth of the river into a world-class port.
“This is a good opportunity because we are looking into how to decongest the island of Boracay by developing an eco-tourism port and harbor that would connect Batangas and Mindoro. This is the best option,” he said.
A mixed-channel for water transport and regatta to reactivate the ‘old’ Aklan River can also be developed, a combination of high-end dredging, world-class beach development and an opportunity for hydro eco-tourism.
The last option, he said, will benefit the irrigation and agriculture by constructing a multi-purpose dam to prevent flood downstream.
Javelosa said the in-channel stockpiling of quarry materials caused channel blockade in the vicinity of Aklan River. The semi-permanent roadways for quarry trucks also block the river causing the mainstream to impact the right side of Kalibo, he added.
He also recommended three sites for quarry with specific and absolute numeric to reduce flood occurrence. The provincial government, he said, should also adopt the revised provincial land use and zoning plan to mitigate the impact of flood.
Engr. Roger Esto of the Provincial Planning and Development Office, Provincial Engineer Victory Fernandez, DENR-MGB acting regional director Leo Van Juguan and Engr. John Kenneth Almalbis of the Aklan Environment and Natural Resources Office (AKENRO) also attended the regular session.