Flood Regulation Strategy Using Combination Nature-Based Solutions
in Barangay Yapak (Wetland #1), Boracay Island

Seven Seas Boracay Properties Inc. (SSBPI) is working in close coordination with DENR to assist in alleviating the flooding that occurs in the residential area near the SSBPI Hotel Project. As part of its study, DENR has tasked SSBPI to prepare a hydrological study of the area to be used as a tool in preparing the design. Brgy. Yapak is one of the three barangays comprising Boracay Island in the municipality of Malay, Aklan. Its name was derived from the wooden footwear known as ‘eapak’ used by natives that first inhabited the area. It lies in the northern tip of the island. With a total land
area of 377.94 hectares and is home to a population of 5,161 (PSA 2015) with a population density of 14 persons per hectare.

To date, the Kanipaan Marshland or Wetland No.1 is heavily disturbed, where claimants have developed a portion of the wetland into a residential area. Also, a chunk of the wetland area is heavily polluted. In addition, there are reclaimed areas which cut-off the inflow and outflow causing the water to be stagnant.

The Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands, Inc. is assisting the SSBPI in finding solutions to the problem of flooding in the Yapak Wetland. The SCPW will conduct a study that will provide SSBPI science-based information in designing interventions that will help alleviate flooding in the area.

The study also relies on the general framework of nature-based solutions to flood defence and mitigation. Nature-based solutions to flood risk are part of a larger framework for resilient communities and provide multiple benefits giving communities high returns on investments in flood risk reduction strategies. These benefits that come with using nature-based solutions to flood risk include improved water quality, air quality, boost in tourism, reduced cost in water treatment facilities, improved wildlife habitat, and improved community appeal among many others (NRC, 2018).

Working with nature to reduce flood risk is an approach which complements conventional flood defence approaches where harnessing a combination of strategies to maximise benefits within a catchment area is a key goal of a project. Natural Flood Management (NFM) is an approach where flood management is done in localised areas rather than mitigated downstream when flood waters from different areas combine and require extensive downstream defences. The NFM approach applies a range of techniques that enhance natural processes within catchments upstream of affected areas in order to reduce water yield or to construct landscaped areas to retain storm run-off and slowly release and attenuate the passage of flood waves. This approach includes hillslope tree-planting, soil and peat structural improvements, carriers and bunds to reduce water velocity, engineering leaky
barriers, and over 150 other techniques (EA, 2014). The LifE (Long-term initiatives for Flood- risk Environments) Approach is a way of designing cities and communities that makes space for water and respects the principles of living with water (Barker, 2007). The LifE approach uses the placement of multifunctional landscapes like floodable parks, squares, and play areas with carbon neutral developments to provide food storage in an integrated master planning methodology.

The study is divided into two phases:

  • SWAT Watershed Modelling (Soil and Water Assessment Tool)
  • Natural Flood Management Design

Study will be conducted from January to April of 2019 by a project team pooled from SCPW expert members.