Despite the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Office No. 8 (MGB RO8) Geosciences Division have successfully completed its CY 2020 targets in the Groundwater Resources and Vulnerability Assessment (GRVA) project.

In line with the Geological Risk Reduction and Resiliency Program, the GRVA project’s objective and scope focuses on the creation of a system that can be used to evaluate the groundwater pollution potential of an area. It aims to assess the most vulnerable areas that are susceptible to exploitation and overall contamination owing to their geological setting and other factors (e.g., groundwater draft, land use/land cover changes, depth to groundwater level, aquifer media, soil type, topography, hydraulic conductivity, groundwater recharge, etc.).

For CY 2020, MGB RO8 has targeted four municipalities in the Province of Leyte. These are the Municipalities of Calubian, San Isidro, Tabango and Villaba, all on the northwestern portion of the Leyte Island. In the 1st Quarter, the GRVA team was deployed to Calubian, Leyte last February 2020. The field assessment lasted until March and the corresponding progress report was presented to the Local Government.

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the strict quarantine procedures that was put in place all over the region, the 2nd Quarter schedule of field assessment was postponed to a later date. On top of the postponement, National Budget Circular No. 580 was also issued by the Department of Budget and Management which lead to the discontinuance of at least 10% of the Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) and Capital Outlays (CO) for FY 2020. As a result, the targets were reduced to two – leaving only Calubian and San Isidro as the only targets for the year.

For the second field assessment, the team was deployed to San Isidro, Leyte on August 2020. The field assessment lasted until the last week of August and the corresponding progress report was presented to the Local Government. Water samples collected during the field assessment are still at the Leyte Metropolitan Water District (LMWD) for analysis. Hence, final reports and maps for the two municipalities are still unavailable pending the results of the water analysis.