Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer Yoshio Labi said that the initial study is being undertaken by US Peace Corps volunteer Patricia Fontanet Rodriguez. One of the main purposes of the study is to identify strategies to mitigate flooding, identify resources and as leverage to obtain and tap other funding sources.
A water resources planner in the federal government in Sacramento, California, USA, Rodriguez is working on a study entitled, “La Trinidad Flood Study ” since October last year and expects to finish it this April.
Rodriguez is on the information gathering phase on post assessment reports and flood damages that includes conducting interviews with concerned municipal offices and affected barangays especially Betag on their experiences in mitigating the impact of flooding, gathering of historical accounts, and ongoing and future projects among other relevant information.
Among her initial findings include La Trinidad is located in a hazardous flood-prone area. Flooding is experienced if there are heavy rains or typhoons causing significant impact and substantial damage to residences, crops and businesses.
Those living in the valley experience inland flooding which comes from rains, rivers rising, rivers being constrained which she said is similar to that of a river in Sacramento, Caifornia, the biggest in the area. There is a need to mitigate floodwaters before they end up flooding devastatingly to properties and crops, she said.
All the information gathered will be compiled to determine the causes, the approaches, and come up with recommendations to serve as basis in coming up with a plan, she said. She hopes to produce the initial draft in a month or so for review by offices or partners before it is finalized.
“The biggest thing is that floods cannot be controlled. Floods cannot be stopped. But floods can be managed. And as a planner, our job is to find a way that too much water can live in harmony with the people in the flood plains,” said Rodriguez who volunteers as Disaster Program Officer in this town.
“My job as a planner is to document possible solutions and present those ideas to decision-makers and other offices of the municipality who will be in charge of implementing those decisions,” she said. (JDP/SCA-PIA CAR, Benguet)
By Susan C. Aro