DPWH and Watermaster: Fighting Floods in the Philippines

Aquamec Ltd., a Finland based developer and manufacturer of the Watermaster multipurpose machines, has released a very interesting paper on flood fighting activities in the Philippines.

The paper focuses on flood prevention efforts of the Philippines’ Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

DPWH – responsible for providing and managing quality infrastructure facilities and services for the Filipino people – utilizes a fleet of Watermaster dredgers that help prevent floods, keeping the shallow waterways fully operational.

Fighting floods

With over a hundred million citizens, the Philippines is one of the most populous countries in the world.

It is a mountainous archipelago composed of over 7500 islands. The country is located in a seismically and volcanically active tropical region prone to a range of natural hazards, including earthquakes, volcano eruptions, typhoons and perennial floods.

The Philippines has suffered several serious floods in the recent past, causing hundreds of deaths and financial losses totaling billions of Euros.

The main reason for the flooding is that many of the inland waterways are filled with sediments and trash due to upstream erosion and the dumping of waste in the river systems, leading to a reduced water carrying capacity.

The narrow, silted urban canals are especially vulnerable to flooding during heavy rainfalls of the typhoon season (from May to October). DPWH’s goal is to transform the flood prone areas to flood protected areas by increasing the water carrying capacity of the waterways.

They do this by dredging the accumulated silt, removing all trash and vegetation that disturb the free flow of water and by strengthening and raising the riverbanks where necessary.

At the moment, DPWH has 21 multipurpose Watermasters that can handle all these operations.

The work continues

DPWH has achieved great results with the Watermaster fleet, but the work is continuous and far from over, according to the article.

The Philippines’ location in the Pacific Ring of Fire and the Pacific typhoon belt will undoubtedly keep the need for mobile and versatile dredging high in the future, too.

Dredging is a necessity required to help protect the Philippine people who live in the vulnerable low-lying areas of the country, the paper concludes.