By Dona Z. Pazzibugan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
7:52 am | Saturday, October 19th, 2013
MANILA, Philippines—An all-Filipino team of scientists from the University of the Philippines (UP) is about to complete the creation of flood hazard maps that can accurately forecast the path of flash floods for some of the most flood-prone areas in the country.
After less than two years, the UP Disaster Risk and Exposure Assessment for Mitigation (Dream), the biggest component of the government’s Noah (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards) project, reported that it has finished acquiring data for 17 of the 18 critical river basins.
Dr. Enrico Paringit, head of the UP Dream team, said the mapping of the floodplain areas around Cagayan River is expected to be finished before its target completion date, which is the end of the year.
“We will be giving the local government units the flood hazard maps so they can use it,” Paringit said yesterday during his progress report to stakeholders.
His all-Filipino Dream team pioneered in the country the use of newly-acquired Light Detection and Ranging (Lidar) technology to come up with up-to-date three-dimensional maps of the country’s major river systems where communities are prone to destructive floods.
Replacing the available yet obsolete topographical maps, the new maps can simulate the flood of flash floods to show which areas will be submerged in water during heavy rains and which areas will be safe for refuge.
The 18 critical river systems affect 58 cities and 598 municipalities in 49 provinces.
These are the Marikina-Pasig River, Bicol River, Cagayan River (Mindanao), Iligan River, Pampanga River, Agno River, Jalaur River, Ilog-Hilabangan River, Panay River, Davao River, Mag-asawang Tubig, Agus River, Tagum-Libuganon River, Tagoloan River, Buayan-Malungun River, Agusan River, Cagayan River and Mindanao River.
Work to produce elevation maps using the Lidar technology has also started for other river basins such as the Infanta and Lucena rivers.
Put together by the Department of Science and Technology to mitigate natural hazards, Noah has various components aimed mainly at giving an integrated flood early warning system through an improved weather forecasting system.