DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo
DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo

TACLOBAN CITY, — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will complete the installation of flood early warning system in all 219 rivers in the country next year.

DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo said the Aquino administration is serious in mitigating losses of life and property brought about by flooding through forecasting and early warning.

The government had set up the first flood warning system in the country in 1973, using Japanese technology, according to Montejo, who was in this city Saturday for a forum with students at the Eastern Visayas State University.

“Before 2010 or in the past 40 years, there were five river systems with flood monitoring system developed by foreign institutions. In two and a half years, we’re able to install warning systems in 18 major rivers, using local technologies,” Montejo said.

Each installed system has the ability to send warnings to low lying communities six hours before the water surge, hence giving residents enough time to prepare.

Early warning system are designed to substantially reduce casualties and damages to movable properties.

“Basically, the system detects a flooding condition upstream and warns inhabitants downstream of the approaching flood,” Montejo explained.

The longer the time between the warning and the actual arrival of the flood, the better the residents can prepare by bringing their belongings and themselves to safe places.

Germany’s development cooperation agency Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) said that a warning system for a watershed with one sub-river system and one sub-basin will cost roughly PHP1 million to establish.

A similar system for a watershed with two sub-river systems and two sub-basins will cost around PHP1.5 million; and a similar system for a complex watershed that includes more than two sub-river systems and sub-basins will cost around PHP2.7 million. (PNA)