The Threat of the Expansion of the Banana Plantation in Mt. Talomo-Lipadas Watershed, Davao City

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Introduction

According to studies of the Davao City Water District, 98 percent of the city’s drinking water is sourced from groundwater mainly from Talomo-Lipadas. This 38,000-hectare watershed has an annual volume of water catch of 760 million cubic meters (MCM) or 2 MCM per day. It is one of the nine watersheds in the city that direly needs protection. In Davao City the main source of water supply is ground water. Hence, the city depends largely on the Mt. Talomo-Lipadas watershed. This watershed is now being threatened by expanding vegetable farms, creeping banana and pineapple plantations, illegal logging and other deleterious undertakings. A portion of the Mt. Talomo-Lipadas watershed, some 530 hectares inside the Mt. Apo Natural Park, has already been denuded (DCWD). Mt. Talomo-Lipadas watershed, the primary source of water in Davao City, is now in danger of expansion and encroachment of banana plantations in its protected area, especially at the foot slopes of Mt. Apo and along the steep slopes from the river’s tributary to Lipadas river, the City’s Aquifer. The presence of banana plantations and their continued expansion poses a clear and present danger on the groundwater resources of the watershed. Moreover, the activities of these plantations cause health problems to residents in surrounding areas(DCWD). Every Filipino as enshrined in our Constitution is tasked “to protect and advance the rights of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature”. It is on this basis that this paper was given birth to strike a balanced trade-off between environmental care and economic development alongside people's health.

Statement of the Problem
This study was conducted to look into the status of the the Talomo – Lipadas Watershed. It aims to answer the following questions: 1.To identify its significance to the people of Davao City. 2.To look into the threat of the expansion of banana plantation posed to Talomo-Lipadas watershed. 3.To lay down the views of the government, the youth and the agencies who have interests in the protection of Mt. Talomo-Lipadas watershed as the source of 98 percent of the Davao City’s drinking water. 4.To aware the community on the effects that agricultural activities may have on the general public due to watershed contamination. 5.To identify what significant steps have been undertaken by the local government officials, different non-government organizations, and responsible government organizations to address the existing problem. 6.To urge the relevant organizations and stakeholders to make immediate and effective actions to address the problem.

Review of Related Literature
A watershed is defined as “an area of land that drains down the slope to the lowest point. The water moves through a network of drainage pathways that converge into streams and rivers, which become progressively larger as the water moves on downstream, eventually reaching an estuary and the ocean”(Watershed Stewardship Education Program Training Guide, Oregon State University and Sea Grant Extension: http://seagrant.orst.edu/wsep). By the definition of the Davao City Water District (DCWD), a watershed is a basin-like geographical structure bounded by surrounding ridges. It has a network of stream tributaries leading to a common mouth or drainage channel. It is a combination of components such as soil, water, terrain, vegetative cover, and associate animal life. A watershed plays a very critical role in ensuring and abundant supply of round water (Sienes, 2002). “A watershed is also sometimes called drainage basin or catchment basin. The delineation of the Talomo-Lipadas Area follows the definition of a watershed” (DCWD). In Davao City the main source of water supply is ground water. Hence, the city depends largely on the Mt. Talomo-Lipadas watershed. This watershed is now being threatened by expanding vegetable farms, creeping banana and pineapple...
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