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A study on the effects of climate and land-use changes on water resources in Region 2 (Cagayan Valley) is going to be spearheaded by the Isabela State University (ISU) with a funding allocation of P14.7 million from a national government line agency.

The project was a result of the recent mutual consultation between ISU and Kyoto University in Japan which has long been a partner of the former in research and development ventures on water management and climate change.

In 2019, officials led by ISU President Dr. Ricmar Aquino also went to Kyoto University to discuss possible academic and research exchange and collaboration in light of disaster preparedness.

‌The activity was in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) in Region 2 which funded the travel expenses of ISU officials.

Aquino said the mutual consultation between ISU and Kyoto University led to the conduct of the project called “Integrated Flood and Water Resources Management in the Asean Basins for Sustainable Development.” Asean means Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

It was after November 2020 when massive flooding wreaked havoc in Isabela and Cagayan provinces that led the DoST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DoST-PCIEERD) to forge an agreement with ISU to develop an innovative protocol for Magat Dam discharges, safety and optimized reservoir operation during extreme climate conditions.

The DoST-PCIEERD governing council backed up the university’s research initiative through GC Resolution No. 171 S. 2020 which certified the project’s implementation alongside P14.7 million funding support with an initial grant of P7.5 million for 2021.

For two years, Aquino said ISU and DoST-PCIEERD will study the effects of climate and land-use changes on water resources in selected river basins of the Southeast Asian region, particularly in Region 2 toward integrated management and disaster resilience.

“The two parties will identify solutions addressing integrated river basin management for disaster risk reduction and resilience, and undertake capacity building and technology transfer initiatives,” he said.

With this research initiative that banks on preventive measures for severe flooding during extreme weather conditions, the project is being eyed to cover the optimization of the Magat Dam reservoir operation in Northern Luzon.

Magat Dam was Southeast Asia’s first large multipurpose dam that is situated in the Magat River, a major tributary of the longest river in the Philippines, the Cagayan River.

According to Aquino, the study will help the Magat Dam management to integrate innovative protocol adaptive to the situation of the dam.

Earlier, ISU and DoST-Region 2 also entered into a separate agreement with the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) on the optimization of water resources and river basin management in the region.

They initiated seminar-workshops on Integrated Flood and Water Resources Management in previous years.

Also in partnership with Kyoto University and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco), the most recent seminar-workshop was its co-sponsored Online International Hydrology Training Course on December 1 to 10, 2020.

The said training focused on Integrated Riven Basin Management under Climate Change, participated by 12 faculty members and researchers from ISU and the NIA-Magat River Integrated Irrigation System.

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