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WRMD’s SWIPs and other SSIPs Spur Countryside Agricultural Productivity and Build the Resilience of Rainfed Vulnerable Communities Against the Adverse Impact of Climate Change

By Engr. Teresita S. Sandoval and Dolores Mae G. Reonal – September 17, 2012

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Since its existence in 1987 per Executive Order No. 116, dated January 30, 1987, the Water Resources Management Division (WRMD) continues to make a difference on the lives of marginalized communities dominated by upland rainfed farmers by bringing in facilities that are not only providing economic benefits but also creating a favorable environment that is resilient to adverse impacts of extreme climate events.

The WRMD is the youngest of the seven (7) technical divisions of the BSWM. It is known to have the engineering expertise on the implementation of Small Water Impounding Projects and other Small Scale Irrigation Projects (SSIPs). It is mandated to formulate measures and guidelines for effective water resource conservation and utilization for agricultural productivity, and in doing so, has promoted the extensive development of rainwater harvesting structures notably known as the Small Water Impounding Project (SWIP) and its surrogate Small Farm Reservoir (SFR). These SWIPs and SFRs have been proven effective and appropriate soil and water conservation facilities that provide not only supplemental irrigation for improved farm productivity in areas where large-scale irrigation systems are non-existent, but also providing several other services to the communities such as: source of water for fishery and livestock production as well as for other domestic uses; serve as recreation site for families and friends; an educational site for students and professionals to learn soil and water conservation technologies; recharges our groundwater that contributes to base flow of our rivers; moderates micro climate; and retards peak flows thereby preventing flash flooding downstream.

Aside from SWIPs and SFRs, the Division is also tasked by the Department of Agriculture (DA) to spearhead the implementation of other Small Scale Irrigation Projects (SSIPs) in support to its current Food Staples Sufficiency Program (FSSP) through the National Rice Program and High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP). These SSIPs include Small Diversion Dams (SDDs), Spring Development (SD), Shallow Tubewell (STW) and Pump Irrigation System from Open Source (PISOS). Cognizant of increasing high cost of energy (diesel and gasoline and electricity) for pumping water, the Division also embarks on the development of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and water flows as best and appropriate alternatives. These are specifically promoted in the production of high value crops.

To date, there are 444 SWIPs, 1,616 SDDs, 30,000 SFRs, STWs and PISOS. Their benefits are measured in terms of generation of new areas under irrigation, increased cropping intensity, increased seasonal and annual production, diversified cropping systems and ultimately improved farmer’s income and way of life.

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