MGB-6 on keeping our groundwater safe

(Iloilo City) –Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Office 6 (MGB-6) chief of the Geosciences Division Mae Y. Magarzo talks about the importance of groundwater and keeping it safe during the DENR 6 radio program over DYLL Radyo Pilipinas.

Groundwater is water found under the ground, in the cracks and spaces in soil, sand and rock. It is stored in and moves slowly through geologic formations of soil, sand and rocks called aquifers, said Ms. Magarzo, as differentiated from water found in the rivers, creeks and the seas or water found on the surface of the earth.  Groundwater remains the safest source of drinking water.  In Region 6, it is still the source of drinking and household water for majority of the population.  Deep wells still abound in the region.

Groundwater is naturally clean but human activities producing domestic and industrial waste contaminate groundwater sources.  Groundwater contamination also occurs when products such as gasoline, oil, and chemicals get into the groundwater, causing it to become unsafe and unfit for human use.  It is very crucial to follow safety and sanitation regulations in putting of facilities and structures such as septic tanks, landfill sites and burial grounds to prevent contamination of groundwater sources, Magarzo added.

According to Magarzo, one of the activities of the Geosciences Division of MGB under the National Geohazards Assessment and Mapping Program is the conduct of groundwater resource assessment.  This type of assessment aims to determine the availability and source of groundwater in the various rock units in the entire country.  It includes a systematic collection of geologic, hydrologic, and meteorological information.  In line with this, MGB conducts field surveys of provinces, regions, and river basins.

We also conduct groundwater quality assessments to determine the physical and chemical properties of water from wells.  We have laboratories at the MGB CO and EMB to test the chemical properties of water, she said.

MGB conducted a rapid groundwater resource assessment on a scale of 1:250,000 of Region 6 which produced hydro-geologic maps.  Starting in 2019, MGB embarked on a groundwater resource and vulnerability assessment applying a watershed approach.  In the province of Iloilo, MGB completed the groundwater resource assessment of Jalaur Watershed, Oton, Iloilo City, Pavia, Janiuay and Ajuy, Iloilo.   The groundwater resource assessment using the watershed approach is a continuing work target of MGB.  (MGB VI, DENR)

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