The Environmental Management Bureau-Cordillera recently convened the technical working groups of the Water Quality Management Areas (WQMA) of three water systems in the region in a joint meeting in Baguio City to plan strategies to improve water quality.
EMB-Cordillera Ambient Monitoring Section Officer-in-Charge Grace Solano said the annual activity of the three WQMA is to jumpstart the year by planning out environment-related strategies to improve and restore the three water bodies namely the Bued, Balili, and Upper Amburayan river systems.
Each WQMA through its members and representatives reviewed the 2023 action plan and what have been accomplished in the past year.
They also deliberated on the measures to be undertaken and priorities for the 2024 action plan.
Solano said the objective of the WQMA is to protect through stakeholders’ collaboration the water bodies and its tributaries by keeping their water quality within the water quality guidelines or criteria conforming to the water body’s classification or even improve the quality to higher classification.
The WQMA Action Plan aims to address water quality issues and problems in the area that would result in improved water quality of the said water bodies.
The oldest WQMA is the Balili River, which was designated in 2013, followed by Bued River in 2016, and Upper Amburayan River in 2018.
The three WQMAs are different in terms of pollution sources and loading.
Balili River traverses the municipality of Sablan and the highly-urbanized areas of La Trinidad and Baguio City.
Bued River is located in Itogon and Tuba, Benguet where mining activities are rampant while the Amburayan River traverses Bakun, Kibungan, Buguias, Atok, Tublay, and Kapangan where vegetable gardens and farmlands abound.
Solano expressed gratitude to the agencies, offices, and organizations that are staunch partners in the environmental protection and the preservation and restoration of the river systems in the region. – Redjie Melvic Cawis