Metro Manila lost 20 kms. of waterways in past 50 years — urban planning expert
Metro Manila lost 20 kilometers of its waterways and canals in the last 50 years, contributing to massive flooding in the metropolis, a natural catch basin of the Sierra Madre, urban planner and landscape architect Paolo Alcazaren told GMA News Friday.
"In the last 50 years, nawalan na tayo ng about 20 kilometers of esteros and canals, dahil sa filling up, sa reclamation (ng lupa) dahil natatabunan ng mga gusali, at bigla na lang may titulo ang lupa," Alcazaren said in a report on the "24 Oras" newscast.
Metro Manila still has many waterways but the loss of drainage channels from the Sierra Madre and watershed areas to the Manila Bay have caused the Laguna de Bay and key rivers to overflow.
"'Yung watershed natin sa Sierra Madre, dapat i-reforest. Kailangang gawin, kung hindi guguho at babagsak ang tubig galing sa taas," the urban planner said.
Alcazaren, known for some unconventional ideas in flood-control such as a large "Spongebob"-like underground cisterns for collecting rainwater, noted that it would take more than city ordinances to control floods.
"Ang solusyon ay radical, a physical, radical solution," he said.
Alcazaren said an alternative must be found or created to replace the long-forgotten Parañaque spillway plan, which was meant to drain Laguna de Bay water out to the Manila Bay.
The Laguna lake spills because it stores the water from Manggahan floodway, an artificial waterway built in 1986 to prevent the Pasig River from overflowing.
"Imposibleng masosolusyunan ang problema kung magkakanya-kanya ang mga LGUs. Masterplan (ang kailangan) na susundin ng lahat ng mga bayan at siyudad," Alcazaren said. — Marc Jayson Cayabyab/ELR, GMA News