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DSWD Spox: Project LAWA to improve community resilience amid El Niño

Project LAWA

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said on Friday (September 1) that Project LAWA or the Local Adaptation to Water Access will improve resiliency of communities affected by the El Niño phenomenon.

Project LAWA, which was simultaneously launched in Davao de Oro, Ifugao, and Antique on Thursday (Aug. 31), is an early action plan of the government to mitigate the impacts of drought and dry spells by establishing small farm reservoirs (SFRs).

“By building water-harvesting facilities, our farmers and fisherfolk will be ready for the effects of El Niño and climate change,” DSWD Asst. Secretary for Strategic Communications Romel Lopez said.

“They can use SRFs to improve the production of crops or they can use it as fishponds for an additional income,” Asst. Sec.Romel Lopez, who is also DSWD spokesperson pointed out.

The LAWA project targets to construct 90 SFRs in the nine local government units (LGUs) in Davao de Oro, Ifugao, and Antique.

The three provinces are based on Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration’s (PAGASA) geophysical map which shows that Davao de Oro, Ifugao, and Antique will be severely affected by El Niño.

To assist the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized families of Indigenous Peoples (IPs), farmers, and fisher folk, the DSWD, through it’s cash-for-training and –work, will provide financial support as alternative income in exchange of the work rendered by the beneficiaries while constructing the alternative water resources.

“Through this cost-efficient and small-scale infrastructure for community-based rainwater retention, production of crops will not be affected, hence the continuous income of our farmers,” the DSWD spokesperson explained.

According to the Department of Agriculture-Water Resources Management Division, SFR is a smaller version of Small Water Impounding Projects (SWIP) that “collects rainfall and runoff for use by a single farm, with height of less than 4 meters and reservoir area of 300–1,500 square meters serving about half to a hectare of farmlands.”

In partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP), the DSWD is exploring the possibility of applying vermi composting to Project LAWA in 2024 to further provide the beneficiary- communities with alternatives to increase crop yield.

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