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GRVA conducted in some municipalities of Batanes province
 By: Lyndee Rose Basilio

vraTo determine the groundwater availability and to describe the aquifer/s in the area, geologists including some personnel of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Office No. II (MGB R0II) conducted a Groundwater Resource and Vulnerability Assessment in the municipalities of Basco, Mahatao,Ivana, Uyugan, and Sabtang, Batanes.

A total of 45 wells were surveyed within Batan and Sabtang Islands. Most of the surveyed wells are submersible pumps especially in Batan Island while few are deep wells in artesian pumps.

Before the earthquake that jolted Batanes province in early 2000, the municipality of Basco depended on the spring of Mt. Iraya as a main source of water for its populace, however, after the earthquake, the pipelines connecting the spring source and the water distribution lines in the downtown area of Batanes were destroyed.

The Local Government of Batanes constructed production wells all over the municipality of Basco to transport water and steam for utilization.

On the other hand, majority of the assessed wells in the municipality of Sabtang are shallow open dug wells converted to jetmatic hand-pumped wells. The majority of the wells are situated in the residential areas few are found in public sites. Based on data gathered, well depths range from 4m to 60m below the ground surface.

Gypsophila Craig L. Selvano, contractual geologist of MGB said that, “ the areas having shallow groundwater level are located near the coast while the groundwater located in the foothills and at the central part of Batan Island were generally deep.”

Locations of springs were also noted where most number of springs which were tapped for drinking are situated in the municipality of Uyugan.

Based on results of in situ testing, the water quality in the area generally passed the Department of Health (DOH) standard for safe drinking in terms of pH level, total dissolved solids and salinity. Multi-parameter handheld tester was used to test the quality of water.

Moreover, some of the water wells are not safe for drinking and only limited for domestic use only particularly in barangays Nakanmuan and Sinakan, Sabtang province.

Selvano, Domingo J. De Asis, cartographer II, and Jose U. Delos Santos Jr., senior environmental management specialist (SEMS) conducted said assessment.

Well inventory and water quality test for the municipalities of Basco, Mahattao, Ivana, Uyugan, and Sabtang were completed during the fieldwork. Georesistivity survey in the province of Batanes will also be conducted by the Bureau. – LRSB with reports from Geosciences Division