DPWH launches river monitoring website
MANILA, Philippines – An online portal that will monitor and contain information on rivers in the country will soon be available to the public.
Called the "Streamflow Management System", the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) launched a platform Thursday, June 2, to make the tracking of select river systems easier. This would also aid in flood mitigation and management.
"With the launching of the Streamflow Management System website, we will have accessible records and maps of river flow stations initially from river gauging stations in Regions VI, VIII, IX, X, and XII,” outgoing DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson announced.
The DPWH has partnered with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The website is expected to be fully operational by October 2016.
Prior to the creation of SMS, gathering river flow data took months before information reached higher offices that analyzed the information.
Senior hydrologist Ador Jacinto, project consultant, said that gauge-keepers who measured streamflow wrote down the data in their logbooks. After a few months, this was eventually reported to the Regional Quality Assurance and Hydrology office.
"For example, data collected in January reaches the regional office in April," said Jacinto in a mix of English and Filipino.
Taking advantage of technology, gathering data won't have to take months before being validated and analyzed.
Instead of writing down the information, the gauge-keepers will only have to text to relay the information to a server. This is stored in a temporary database to be validated by the regional office in case of typo errors, explained Jacinto as she demonstrated the use of the site.
According to the senior hydrologist, data from previous years will also be stored in the website to be available for public download. Apart from that, computations and analysis on water discharge will also be open to the public.
"This will be useful to the BOD [Bureau of Design] should they agree to use the data," Jacinto said. The BOD is a bureau under the DPWH which takes charge of reviewing field survey for DPWH projects.
"It will be very meaningful if there is a higher-level agreement to use the data in this site. If a storm event occurred, there will be some changes in the water level. That will be very useful especially if somebody will make a hydrologic analysis," said Jacinto.
Project NOAH merge?
While the idea of having a new website for rivers sounds great, some officials said the government has too many online platforms already.
During the launch, DPWH Undersecretary Catalina Cabral brought up the need to streamline projects with the Department of Science and Technology's Project NOAH.
"Maybe we can pitch it to assimilate the information to the website of Project NOAH. It is also very important as this is being used by other agencies," suggested Cabral.
"I think it is very important that the inputs that we have in our database will be more or less consistent with the NOAH project," DPWH Director for Research and Standards Judy Sese said.
Apart from flood mitigation, the new website is also seen to benefit local disaster risk planning and water development plans. – Rappler.com