Anda di halaman 1dari 9

Rainwater Harvesting in Integrated Watershed Management

For Climate Change Adaptation


Kahublagan sang Panimalay Foundation Inc., 25B Magsaysay village, La Paz Iloilo City 5000,
Philippines (E-mail:


The paper presents a case study of the Tigum-Aganan Watershed and its problem of water supply.
In 1993, attention was brought to the Maasin Watershed as only 35% of the citys population was
serviced with potable water. A projection showed a decline in the water supply of the Tigum River
because the watershed was denuded and farmed. A reforestation proposal was implemented and a
decade later, the watershed experienced further reduction of water supply. This decrease of water
supply was further exacerbated by a typhoon and flooding in the watershed which caused massive
erosion yielding 2,100,000 m3 of soil and 71,000 uprooted trees. The recent presentation of a local
utility firm estimated a further loss of water supply by 55% and soil erosion of one cubic meter of
silt everyday from its de-silting pond. In response to these series of problematic events, a rainwater
harvesting program in the Tigum-Aganan Watershed was initiated to help farmers and households
cope with the limited supply of water. The problem of a degraded ecosystem and the impact of
climate change led the stakeholders to meet in a series of assemblies and made recommendations,
among which was rainwater harvesting in the catchment. How the program was implemented and
what was the result is presented in the paper.

Rrainwater harvesting; integrated water resource management; watershed management; soil and
water conservation; climate change adaptation.


The Tigum-Aganan Watershed has an area of 52,669 hectares and a population of 419,973 persons
in 391 villages. The whole watershed encompasses 8 municipalities and 1 city. Rainfall during
rainy season is 1,600 mm on the average and during dry season, it is 345 mm. The headwater of the
Tigum River, called the Maasin Watershed has been declared a Forest Reserve for the City, as it is
the source of potable water for the citys half a million population and the municipalities around it.
The river also supplies water to 3,000 hectares of farmland. The Aganan River, on the other hand,
supplies irrigation water to upland agriculture of two municipalities and lowland agriculture of 3

In 1993, attention was brought to the Maasin Watershed as only 35% of the citys population is
serviced with potable water. A feasibility study was conducted and it showed a water deficit by the
year 2000 considering socio-economic factors such as population increase and investment in
industries within a newly created Regional Agro-Industrial Center within the Tigum-Aganan

An examination of the Watershed Reserve showed a denudation which left only 8% of its old
growth forest. The rest of the watershed was grassland and farmland. While the Reserve is owned
by the government and franchised to a local water utility firm in 1927, the area was not protected
from slash and burn farming which were later turned into established farms. There were 10,000
people living in the area outside the watershed but the study showed that mostly, their source of
livelihood comes from illegally tilling a farm inside the Reserve Area. The study recommended for
an agro-forestry intervention .

The government, however, opted for a reforestation project which was funded by the Japan Bank
for International Cooperation. The 2,000 hectare plantation of exotic species, 1164 hectares of
fruit-bearing trees, 281 ha of bamboo, 161 ha of rattan and another riverbank plantation of exotic
species in 60 has were completed in 1999. The plantation was reported to have a 90.6% survival
rate2. In summer of 2002, the first water allocation was experienced in the watershed with the
people seeing no water flowing over the dam and in their wells. In the subsequent summers, the
people were ready for water allocation to optimize low water levels.

In 2008, this decrease of water supply was further exacerbated by a typhoon and flooding in the
watershed which caused massive erosion yielding 2,200,200 m3 of soil and 70,760 damaged and
uprooted trees3. The recent presentation of the Metro Iloilo Water District (water service provider)
estimated a further loss of water supply by 55% and soil erosion of one cubic meter of silt everyday
on its silting pond. The potable water was hard to come by because the process has to consider the
voluminous silt in the water.

Objective of the Study

The Tigum-Aganan Watershed maybe considered as a microcosm of the watersheds in the country.
The impact of climate change on water could either be a potential or a source of hazard, considering
that the watershed is a degraded ecosystem. Rainwater harvesting maybe used to catch the
opportunity of more water and to mitigate the dangers too much rain may bring. This could show
how rainwater harvesting maybe used to adapt to climate change and a lesson for the country to
learn from.

The main objective of the study is to enable the Philippines to adapt to the impacts of climate
change on water by: (a) assessing the rainwater potential under different climate change scenarios
(b) demonstrating rainwater harvesting application for minimizing the projected climate change
negative impact on water and (c) raising awareness on the challenge of climate change on
watershed management.

Salas, J. Socio-Economic Factors Related to the Destruction of a Rainwater Catchment and Strategies for
Rehabilitation, Journal of International Rainwater Catchment Systems Vol. 1 No. 1 July, 1993, Japan International
Rainwater Catchment Systems Association. Kyoto, Japan: Kyoto University
DENR Region VI flyer, 2005.
Damage Assessment on the Onslaught of Typhoon Frank, DENR Region VI presentation at the Tigum-Aganan
Watershed Management Board Meeting, August, 2008.

To achieve the objective of the study, activities planned were (a) preparation of GIS maps to
characterize the watershed, (b) holding stakeholders assembly to discuss the implication of these
maps and (c) establishment of demonstration farms with rainwater harvesting facilities.

The study was conducted from September 2007 to August 2008.

Preparation of GIS maps

The first task was to characterize the watershed. Secondary sources of data were gathered to
describe the topography and slope condition, soil, sedimentation and soil erosion, and erosion
patterns of the basin. Meteorology data were gathered as well and conditions of the watersheds
demography. These were used for the construction of GIS maps.

After the maps were prepared, a stakeholders assembly was conducted to present the
characterization of the watershed and its implication. Rainwater harvesting specialists from other
countries, particularly Taiwan and China, were invited to share their knowledge and practice4. The
assembly ended with a workshop which outlined the recommendations for a new Watershed
Management Plan. The list of recommendations were later discussed and integrated into the
Watershed Management Plan for 2008 to 2010.

The bio-physical characterization and local knowledge coming out from discussions in the
stakeholders assembly and the recommendations of the workshop were used as basis by the
Technical Working Group of the project in determining the areas for the demonstration sites. The
demonstration areas were further studied by characterizing sub-catchment areas using AGNPS, a
computer simulation model capable of evaluating non-point source of pollution and identifying
areas with high runoff and erosion at any point within the watershed5.

Stakeholders partnership.

After the sites were identified, institutional arrangements were agreed. This procedure comprised
formalizing the role of the local government and the farmer-partners in managing the demonstration
areas. Construction of appropriate rainwater harvesting facilities followed.

The identification of farmer-partners was done in two ways. The first was through a competition on
best practice in soil and water conservation. This method considered the fact that rainwater
harvesting is an ancient technology practiced by farmers. The second method was through a criteria
determined with the local government unit where the demonstration area will be established. This
was needed because the local government is responsible for monitoring the activities in the
demonstration area and for promoting the technology in the future.

The competition on best practice in soil and water conservation have the following criteria:
appropriateness of technology, adequacy of supply to the requirements of the farmers plan and
purpose; protection of soil and water, maintenance practices; income diversification; cost reduction.

The two scientists were Prof. Andrew Lo from the Department of Natural Resources, Chinese Culture
University,Taipei, Taiwan and Prof. Qiang Zhu, Researcher of the Gansu Rainwater Harvesting Training Center,
Lanzhou, China.
The technology was introduced by Prof. Andrew Lo. E-mail:
The cross-cutting theme is sustainability which may be translated into an over-all good farming

Good farming practice means that the farmer assesses all potential water resources; restructures his
existing traditional farming system to integrate rainwater collection; and that he considers in his
plan the requirements of water which depend on the species and variety, the length of growing
period and growth phase and climate. Last but not the least is that the farmer considers the family,
the aspirations of each individual members and the role they play in making the farm productive
and sufficient for a long time.

The second method, which is the purposive approach to site identification was used in areas where
the practice of traditional rainwater harvesting is not prevalent. In these areas, consultation on the
role and responsibilities of partners in the demonstration sites were done and a memorandum of
agreement depicting these were signed by the farmer-partners, the local government chief executive
and the governor of the province.

Construction/repair of facilities.

The last phase was the improvement and/or construction of rainwater harvesting facilities. In the
five demonstration areas established there were 39 rainwater harvesting facilities. The construction
necessitated training in these 5 demonstration areas. Types of facilities found are: ferrocement
rainwater tank, infiltration pond and canals, detention ponds and contour bunds. A total of 113
participants were trained and 30 farmer-partners committed to working with the project.

Observation and Analysis

The second part of the study was to observe and analyse the activities of the farmers in relation to
their rainwater harvesting facilities and document their individual or group analysis. This was done
through focus group discussions in each demonstration site, individual interviews and inspection
and observation in the area.


Watershed description

The topography showed that the alluvial plain of the Tigum-Aganan Watershed has a flat feature
with regular seaward slope widely distributed from Iloilo City to Sta. Barbara in the Tigum River
sub basin and to San Miguel in the Aganan River basin. The Tigum and Aganan Rivers meet at
Pavia forming the Jaro River which forms a gentle stream at in the downstream and flows out into
the Iloilo Strait. The hilly area in the middle stream from Sta. Barbara to Cabatuan and Maasin has
an elevation of 30-400 meters. The elevation on the mountainous region is approximately 500-
1,000 meters, the highest peak being Mt. Inaman with an elevation of 1,585 meters. As to soil
erosion, the 2002 data showed that Tigum-Aganan Watershed was 2.26 ton/ha/year6. This
condition has largely changed as the silt observed by a local water utility firm was gradually
increasing after the completion of the plantation in the Maasin Watershed, and after Typhoon Frank
in 2008. It was estimated that 2,100,000 tons of soil was brought downstream by the typhoon
together with 71,000 uprooted trees from the old growth forest.

2007. Study on sediment Condition in the Jaro and Iloilo River Basins, Iloilo Flood Control Project, Iloilo City.
The total population in the watershed is 419,973 with 391 barangays or villages, the smallest unit
of the local government.

Eleven (11) GIS maps were produced. These are: dry season isohyets, rainy season isohyets, land
use map and runoff curve number, population density, surface runoff during dry season, surface
runoff during rainy season, slope map, soil erosion map, topography and elevation map. The basic
maps of the river system and the political boundaries were superimposed as needed. Four of these
maps are shown in Figures 1 to 4.

Demonstration sites were identified to be located in the following: forested areas in Maasin, the
headwaters of Tigum River; upland areas in Alimodian and Cabatuan; lowland farm in Sta.
Barbara; coastal farms at Oton; and an urban area at Pavia, part of metro Iloilo City. During
project implementation, however, a demo site was not given permission to be installed in the forest
of Maasin.

Figure 1. Dry Season Isohyets Figure 2. Rainy Season Isohyets

Figure 3. Landuse Map and Runoff Curve Number Figure 4. Sub-Basin Information

There are two distinct seasons in the watershed 6 months of rain and 6 months of dry season.
Rainfall varies in the demonstration areas according to their positions in the watershed. Data for
rainfall and available water were computed based on the characterization of the sub catchments.
Table 1 shows selected data about the demonstration sites.

Table 1. Rainfall and water available at the demonstration sites

Location Sub Area Rainfall Rainfall Water Water
Basin # (km2) Dry Season Rainy Season available available
(mm) (mm) Dry (m ) Rainy (m3)
Oton 9 27.6 384 1,606 12,100,000 44,300,000
Lanag, Sta. Barbara 5 38.3 416 1535 15,900,000 58,800,000
Binalud, Alimodian 14 25.8 402 1,527 10,400,000 39,300,000
Pamuringao,Cabatuan 20 15.1 420 1,493 6,300,000 22,500,000
Cabugao Sur, Pavia 6 20.0 401 1,587 8,000,000 31,800,000

The available water in these sub-basins showed a potential resource as well as a hazard especially
when rainfall goes to extreme dry or extreme rain. With sub-basin information, the farmers and the
planning office of the local government are guided. With these information, it is possible to
estimate what types of rainwater catchment facilities may be helpful under different circumstances.

Planned Demo
Forested Area

Demo for
Demo for
Demo for
Demo for
Are as
upland Demo for
agriculture artificial
Demo for Lowland
Are a
L owland
Coastal Area
a griculture

Figure 5. Location of Demonstration Sites of Rainwater Harvesting Facilities

in the Tigum-Aganan Watershed

From data gathered, it was observed that rice production yield per hectare of farmers with rainwater
ponds is higher than the average yield of farmers on rainfed farms, almost reaching the yield of
farmers with irrigation water. Average data from the National Irrigation Administration says that
the average yield per hectare for rainfed farms is 4 tons/year while the irrigated farms is 9 tons/year.
The average yield of farmers with rainwater pond is 9.1 tons/ha/yr.

With vegetables and livestocks and fish to sell, in 6 out of 14 cases, farmers earned an average of
US$60 monthly cash income over and above the food consumed at home. A regular monthly wage
for labor is around US$60-90.

Four 4,500-ltr tank served the needs of 12 households or 47 individuals in the demonstration site.
Water is used for drinking (after boiling) and cooking during dry season. The tanks also supplied
water for washing clothes, cleaning and irrigating plants during rainy season. Another 4,500-ltr
tank served the needs of a Day Care Center with 20 children and the neighboring residents.
Residents used to fetch water 100 meters away while drinking water was purchased from the town,
8 kms. away.

Another rainwater tank served the needs of an elementary school with 240 pupils, 17 teachers and
staff for the purpose of cleaning, washing, and watering plants. Another 6,000-ltr tank was
constructed to supply the water needs of a vermi-composting facility producing organic fertilizer
owned by farmers.

Owners of tanks or ponds also reported that they had another source of water just after the big flood
hit Panay Island in June, 2008. The tank owners in Pavia said they had drinking water when the
whole town did not have water for a month. They supplied water to other people in the town.
Another farmer reported that because of his rainwater pond, he was able to start planting rice even
immediately after the flood when other farms had to be rehabilitated from the clay silt brought by
the flood water. At a demonstration site located on a mountain slope, the farmers said their farms
were not damaged at all as flood water just flowed down the terraces and canals down to the creek.
It is in this same farm where a farmer reported that his empty pond last summer helped release flood
water from his rice fields where he planted dry season crops. Another farmer reported that
rainwater harvesting facilities prevented flooding damage on his vegetables as the water easily
drained water out from the field.

Problems were reported by farmers who were not able to adjust the types of crop to be planted in
the service area according to the volume that was kept or anticipated to be kept in the ponds. Some
tank and pond owners were in the process of adjusting their demand requirements to the availability
of water. Some ponds were not properly matched with the appropriate location and water was not
retained. Some farmers who have multi-use for the water pond were not able to satisfy the
objectives of their purposes, especially those with limited supply of water.


The benefits experienced by those who participated in the demonstration site of rainwater
harvesting in the Tigum-Aganan Watershed included: increase in rice yield, opportunity for other
income for the households, availability of water for household use. The participants also
appreciated the fact that the rainwater harvesting facilities helped mitigate the adverse impact of
The observations were conducted covering a short period of time but there were indications of how
may these facilities help manage too much rain or the lack of water and water facilities in the area.

The preparation of rain maps and sub-basins maps with available water also promise farmers and
planners a guide on how to manage water in the farm and in the watershed.


The support of the United Nations Environment Program, Division of Environmental Policy
Implementation is hereby gratefully acknowledged.

The technical guidance of Prof. Andrew Lo and Prof. Qiang Zhu both members of International
Rainwater Catchment Systems Association is much appreciated.

The cooperation given by partners and members of the Tigum-Aganan Watershed Management
Board and the Iloilo Watershed Management Council is hereby recognized and acknowledged.


(2003). Training Course on Water Harvesting. FAO Land and Water Digital Media Series 26.

(2005) Regional Land ManagementU Unit (RELMA in ICRAF) World Agroforestry Centre. Water
from Ponds,Pans and Dams: a manual on planning, design, construction and maintenance.
Technical handbook No. 32. Nairobi, Kenya.

(2007). Study on Sediment Condition in the Jaro and Iloilo River Basins. Iloilo Flood Control
Project, Iloilo City, Philippines.

(2008). Damage Assessment on the Onslaught of Typhoon Frank, A digital production of DENR
Region VI in a presentation at the Tigum-Aganan Watershed Management Board Meeting, August,
2008. Iloilo City, Philippines.

(2008) Rainwater in the watershed. Watershed Magazine July-December, 2008. Kahublagan sang
Panimalay Fnd, Iloilo City, Philippines.

(2009). A Handook for Integrated Water Resources Management in Basins. 2009. Global Water
Partnership and the International Network of Basin Organizations. London, U.K.

Haridas,V.R. (2005). Soil & Water: the cradle of life. Centre for Environmental Studies for Social
Sector (CESSS) Caritas India.

K.F.A. Lo, A Utilization of Rainwater Catchment in Flood Control. (2001) Rainwater Harvesting.
2nd East Asia International Conference, Iloilo City, Philippines.

Malesu, M.M. et al. (2006). Regional Land Management Unit (RELMA in ICRAF) World
Agroforestry Centre. Rainwater Harvesting Innovations in Response to Water Scarcity. The Lare
experience. Nairobi, Kenya.
Odour, A.R. and Malesu, M.M. (Eds.) (2005). Managing Water for Food Self-Sufficiency.
Proceedings of a regional rainwater harvesting seminar for eastern and southern Africa. Technical
report No. 32. Nairobi, Kenya.

(2003) Rainwater Harvesting. International Training Centre for Rainwater Harvesting, Lanzhou

Salas, J. (1993). Socio-Economic Factors Related to the Destruction of a Rainwater Catchment and
Strategies for Rehabilitation, Journal of International Rainwater Catchment Systems 1(1) Japan
International Rainwater Catchment Systems Association, Kyoto University

Salas, J.C., (2008). Rainwater Harvesting at the Tigum-Aganan Watershed: A Case Study.
Kahublagan sang Panimalay Foundation, Iloilo City, Philippines.