Sta Rosa, Philippines is frequently visited with heavy rains that cause flash floods and severe flooding in the area and nearby cities. The city sits on the edge of the Laguna Lake, the largest lake in the Philippines and located just east of its capital city – Manila.
Professor Damasa Macandong of the University of the Philippines Institute of Biological Sciences says that climate change is causing stronger typhoons and rains to hit the Philippines. Heavy rains cause flashflood and severe flooding resulting in devastation to property and public infrastructure and loss of life, especially those living in informal settlements along the riverbanks.
The video, “Overcoming Floods in the Philippines: A story of climate change adaptation and mitigation” presents that the rapid urbanisation and industrialisation contributed to the flooding problem.
Agricultural lands have been paved with impermeable materials to accommodate factories, commercial buildings, and housing projects, and public infrastructures like roads, the video-documentary mentions.
Japan’s Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) partnered with the University of the Philippines (UP) Los Baños to help Sta Rosa and neighbouring towns to help adapt to increasing threats of flooding.
The partnership between the two institutions has led to the Participatory Watershed Land Use Management Project.
Through this partnership, the teams were able to combine their expertise to create a flood hazard maps of the Sta Rosa watershed. The IGES brought their expertise on Geographic information system (GIS) and remote sensing techniques and the University of the Philippines their proficiency in hydrological modelling.
According to Mr. Endo, these hazard maps will help cities understand the present and future threats of flooding.
These hazards maps were able to simulate the condition of the watershed in 2025. Simulations show that massive flooding will affect the four cities comprising the watershed.
This information allowed local officials to work together and come up with an integrated approach to address flooding and implement adaptation strategies.
Prof. Macandong hopes that Santa Rosa’s integrated watershed management will become a model to other sub-watershed in the country. And land-use management of local governments will allow the sustainability and maintenance of the watershed’s ecology.
Know more about the climate adaptation and mitigation measures they have undertaken jointly by watching the video below:
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