CBRMC, JWA partner to solve Cagayan flooding

IT is all systems go for the Cagayan River Basin Management Council (CBRMC) that will be supported by the Japan Water Agency (JWA), which will significantly address flooding in Region 2 (Cagayan Valley).

Earlier this month, CBRMC Co-Chairman and Isabela Gov. Rodito Albano and JWA representative Akinobu Nishida, also the director general for International Affairs and survey team leader for Toshiro Suzuki, formalized their partnership in a memorandum of understanding (MoU) during the Stakeholders Forum on Integrated Flood Risk Management in Cagayan River Basin at the Zen Hotel in Santiago City, Isabela.

It was witnessed by Isabela State University (ISU) President Dr. Ricmar Aquino and professor Tetsuya Sumi of Kyoto University (KU). ISU and KU are major proponents of the collaborative undertaking.

JWA and the CRBMC have multisectoral stakeholders including 13 core national government agencies; various state universities and colleges; provincial, city and municipal local government units; and private sector representatives and civil society groups.

JWA has been engaged in the development and management of water resources in Japan’s seven river systems that affect more than half of the nation’s total population. Through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), JWA dispatches experts in the development and management of water resources, disaster management, and irrigation to many parts of the world.

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Albano said the MoU between CRBMC and JWA aims to establish a partnership in conducting collaborative activities and projects on flood and sedimentation management in the Cagayan River Basin and the Magat Dam in Ramon, Isabela.

“JWA dispatches experts through JICA in the development and management of water resources, disaster management and irrigation to many parts of the world,” Albano said.

“CRMBC and JWA will advocate and adapt the Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) approach in the development and management of river basins and promote knowledge sharing and exchange of information and experience among river basin organizations throughout Asia,” he added.

During the forum and MoU signing, Albano underscored that the Cagayan River Basin and the province of Isabela will benefit much from the presentation, study and interventions of Japanese experts.

“With this, it would also be a good take-off to revisit in a collaborative and coordinated manner the Magat Dam Protocols to address loopholes, gaps or missing links,” he said.

Nishida also expounded on the integrated water resource management concepts for river basins, while introducing the role of the JWA in the enhancement of people’s lives and its impact on economic development.

He also highlighted the concept of IWRM in response to increasing pressures on water resource allocations from various users, the recognition of ecosystem requirements, pollution and the risk of water availability due to climate change.

Meanwhile, Sumi explained various plans for Japan-Philippines collaboration in the Cagayan River Basin, highlighting several projects between 2020 and 2025, the challenges in dams in the 21st century, dam asset transfer to the next generation, Japan’s dam flood-control situation and prerelease operation practices.

He said Japan will proactively contribute to the solution of water-related social issues faced by the Asia-Pacific region.

“This is done by developing quality infrastructure capitalizing on Japan’s advanced technologies and public-private partnerships and fostering digitization and innovation to solve social issues as a growth engine for sustainable development and the formation of a resilient society and economy,” Sumi said.