Philippines Groundwater Outlook (PhiGO)

Lead Research Organisation: NERC British Geological Survey
Department Name: Groundwater

Abstract

Half of the world's cities with populations above 100,000 are located within water basins where over half of the available water supply is depleted for part of the year. These water-stressed cities are finding it extremely difficult and expensive to secure the additional water supplies needed to support their growth. Water security is of particular concern for Filipino cities, which have been designated amongst the worst in Asia for urban water security. Changing climate and increasing urban population density will put more stress on their water resources. Current projections of climate up to 2050 suggest the Philippines will become warmer, with increasing temperature and decreasing rainfall during the dry season and more extreme rainfall events during the wet season. This will undoubtedly exacerbate both water availability during periods of drought and the magnitude of flood events during periods of heavy rainfall. This susceptibility has led to the Philippines being consistently ranked near the top of countries most at risk to climate change. In addition to water stresses from a changing climate, population is expected to increase by ~50% up to 2050, with urban population set to double over the same period. This will further exacerbate pressures on future water resources.

The influence of climate and population change will have an acute impact on groundwater, which currently supplies more than 50% of the potable water supply and 85% of the piped water supply in the Philippines. Groundwater is strategically and economically important to current and future water supply and is the principle source of dry season river flows, which in turn are often used for potable supply. Despite the high reliance on groundwater resources, reasonable coverage of groundwater datasets and several regional-level groundwater management plans, there has been little in the way of real-time monitoring, routine monthly forecasting or impact assessment of climate and population stressors. Through a programme of data gathering, knowledge exchange, fieldwork, numerical modelling and stakeholder engagement the Philippines Groundwater Outlook (PhiGO) project seeks to undertake assessments of population and climate change impacts on regional groundwater resources and translate these into usable forecasts of flood and drought risk. There are two distinct timeframes at which uptake and potential benefits of the project will be realised. Short term, seasonal-scale forecasts will aid in reactive preparedness, whilst long term, decadal-scale forecasts can be used to take proactive steps towards reducing the future physical and economic impacts of extreme hydrometeorological events. To better understand the potential socio-economic impacts of groundwater level extremes and potential water management strategies, PhiGO is also focussed on quantifying the cascading impacts of flood and drought through key infrastructure and analysing the cost-benefit of differing water management and urban planning scenarios.

Planned Impact

The overarching goal of the project is to deliver consistent, accessible and transferable assessments of climate and population change on regional groundwater resources and to assess the subsequent influence on flood and drought risk, and socio-economics. Key to delivering economic and societal impact is improved communication and collaboration between stakeholders across the local community/actor-management-policy scales. This proposal addresses this by formalising engagement between the relevant stakeholders. We will disseminate research findings widely, seeking to maximise the use of the new knowledge generated within Filipino policy and planning frameworks, and to remove barriers in the effective deployment of risk forecasting by working with government, local authorities, businesses and local communities to co-design dissemination routes and methods.

The project builds on the recently established regional groundwater management plans in the Philippines and will contribute to a number of local water management issues identified for Iloilo City and Pampanga regions. This research will provide a comprehensive, transferable framework for forecasting seasonal and decadal-scale groundwater induced flood and drought risk. The proposed work is designed to address key data and knowledge gaps that influence many of the practical solutions available to flood and drought risk influenced decision-makers. Regional needs are addressed directly through improved seasonal flood and drought risk forecasting systems and detailed quantitative analysis of population and climate change impacts of groundwater resources for the two case-study areas. The opportunity to meet national needs and those of the international community will be delivered through the outputs developed in the project, which will be of particular relevance to water managers and urban planners.

To ensure maximum stakeholder engagement, we have created a tailor-made workshop programme for stakeholders. We will also create web-based platforms designed to act as a hubs for best practice documents, literature, field data, simulation output, analysis. These platforms will be designed to be readily transferable to other water critical regions in the Philippines. They will also be a valuable resource for similar initiatives in other water-critical regions of southeast Asia.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Education We developed a set of teaching materials and tools to develop a basic understanding of groundwater to children aged 7 to 16. This comprised of some simple experiments to explore the hydrological properties of different materials, a presentation and games that the children could play. We delivered the sessions at two schools and provided training to staff from the National Water Resources Board. The sessions are now being used by NWRB to deliver groundwater-focussed school sessions around the Philippines and the training material has been translated into 5 dialects. Forecasting tools The project has developed state-of-the-art real-time monitoring and seasonal groundwater forecasting capabilities for two water critical regions in the Philippines. These systems are being used by the National Water Resource Board (NWRB) to make decisions around resource management. The decisions made by NWRB influence the lives of millions of Filipinos daily and impact industry across the country. The forecasting technology/techniques developed during this project are now being used to support a daily groundwater forecasting service for the UK Flood Forecasting Centre.
First Year Of Impact 2021
Sector Education,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Societal,Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description AquiMod groundwater modelling stakeholder workshop
Geographic Reach Asia 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact This workshop gave stakeholders at the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) and The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) the capability to develop groundwater models across the Philippines. The session also introduced a seasonal groundwater forecasting service developed by the project and how to make best use of this service. The NWRB and PAGASA reported an improvement in their ability to undertake modelling and forecasting of groundwater.
 
Description Improving resilience of critical stakeholder infrastructure in Iloilo
Geographic Reach Asia 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
 
Description Improving resilience of critical stakeholder infrastructure in Pampanga
Geographic Reach Asia 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
 
Description MODFLOW groundwater modelling stakeholder workshop
Geographic Reach Asia 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact This workshop gave stakeholders at the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) and The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) the capability to develop groundwater models across the Philippines. The session also introduced a seasonal groundwater forecasting service developed by the project and how to make best use of this service. The NWRB and PAGASA reported an improvement in their ability to undertake modelling and forecasting of groundwater.
 
Title Real-time groundwater monitoring service 
Description Using a combination of novel and traditional groundwater sensors with SMS telemetry, this service provides real-time monitoring capability for groundwater levels and, pollutants and chemistry. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2021 
Impact Through the Groundwater Management Plan project and the National Water Resources Board, the framework and technology for delivering real-time groundwater data developed by the PhiGO project was upscaled from two to four locations. Combined with the seasonal forecasting service developed under PhiGO, this information is being used by the National Water Resources Board to aid in decisions on water resources management. 
URL https://admuwater.com/phigo/
 
Title Seasonal Groundwater forecasting system 
Description This seasonal groundwater forecasting service provides forecasts of groundwater levels for the next 3 months for two, water critical regions of the Philipines. The forecasts are made daily using the latest seasonal precipitation and temperature forecasts from Copernicus and real-time groundwater levels developed as part of the project. The short time-span of groundwater level records means we had to develop an on-the-fly calibration approach, which ensures the forecasts will improve with time. Although focusing on the Philippines, this tool can easily be expanded to anywhere with real-time groundwater level data. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2021 
Impact Combined with real-time monitoring of groundwater levels (also developed during this project), the national water resources board are using forecasts developed by this system to inform their water resources management. The framework, methodologies and software that support this service have since been used to develop a daily groundwater forecasting service for the UK Flood Forecasts Centre. 
URL https://mapapps.bgs.ac.uk/phigo/
 
Description Press release - project website 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Press release about the project and project website in the Manila Bulletin
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://mb.com.ph/2021/02/14/dost-pcieerd-ateneo-de-manila-university-launch-philippine-groundwater-...
 
Description Project press conference (Iloilo, Philippines) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Press conference about the project and its aims and goals, in particular how it will impact the public locally and regionally. The event was attended by the City Mayor, DOST (funders) and the Head of the National Water Resources Board. The article was printed in at least 3 different local/regional newspapers. The event was tied to a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a groundwater well installed as part of the project. As a result of the event, the Mayor attended the project workshops and has opened new channels of dialogue with the partner organisations in the Philippines.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://businessmirror.com.ph/2020/02/09/two-iloilo-towns-get-real-time-water-sensor-network-systems...
 
Description School visit (Mabalacat Elementary School) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact 45 pupils attended a lecture introducing concepts around groundwater. The students also undertook a series of experiments to explore how porosity and permeability impact water movement within the subsurface. The lecture and experiments led to a number of questions around groundwater resources and we will be working with the school to create a hydrology learning module they can use.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description School visit (Pavia National High School) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact 50 pupils attended a lecture introducing concepts around groundwater. The students also undertook a series of experiments to explore how porosity and permeability impact water movement within the subsurface. The lecture and experiments led to a number of questions around groundwater resources and we will be working with the school to create a hydrology learning module they can use.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020