San Miguel Corp. said Thursday it will help solve the flooding problem in Bulacan province by dredging, widening and cleaning up major rivers in the province, as it gears up for the construction of the P734-billion Manila International Airport in Bulakan town.
SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang said the company was in talks with local government units and other stakeholders in the past few weeks to outline the company’s flood mitigation strategy.
The LGUs and stakeholders had been requesting for SMC to replicate its ongoing P1-billion Tullahan-Tinajeros River System dredging project in Bulacan, to help mitigate flooding which has affected Bulacan residents, particularly those living in the low-lying areas of the province.
“Cleaning up major rivers in Bulacan is really part of our plan. That is why many stakeholders, led by the provincial government and local government units, welcome the project. We have committed to help with this issue and show that this airport project will not only provide jobs and boost the economy, but will also provide a long-term solution to the perennial flooding in Bulacan,” Ang said.
Ang said among the rivers that will undergo improvement are tributaries belonging to the Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando River System. The plan, he said, is to dredge, widen and deepen the Alipit or Taliptip River, Sta. Maria River and the Meycauayan River to address the risk of upstream flooding.
For the Alipit River, Ang said the target is to achieve a bottom width of 60 meters and a depth of 2.5 meters, mean sea level throughout its 7.21-kilometer length. For the Sta. Maria River, the target is a bottom width of 90 meters, dredged depth of 5 meters mean sea level along 500 meters.
For the Meycauayan River, the target bottom width is 80 meters; dredged depth of 4.5 meters MSL and length of 4.46 km.
Ang said the company studied future improvements to alleviate the potential risk of flooding, as continued urban development can increase surface runoff volumes. These include further dredging the rivers to increase their top width and dredged depth.
“Constant dredging and cleanup is important for these tributaries leading to the Manila Bay as silt, trash, and other obstructions restrict the free flow of water, caused heavy flooding, and affecting the marine ecosystem and traditional fishing grounds,” he said.
“By dredging, cleaning, and widening these tributaries both in Bulacan along with the Tullahan River System, we can increase their capacity to carry excess rainwater and thus reduce flooding,” he said.
SMC’s flood mitigation strategy will complement the Department of Public Works and Highways’ Valenzuela-Obando-Meycauayan Area Drainage System Improvement Project, further improving overall flood mitigation in the province.