Received: 17 July 2015 / Accepted: 16 October 2015/ Published online: 25 November 2015
Typhoon Haiyan caused 6%–15% forest cover loss in Tacloban City’s watershed
Forest cover loss may have resulted in approximately one-third decrease in groundwater recharge
Forest cover loss increased soil erosion potential by about 7 times
Existing water supply problems may worsen due to Haiyan’s impacts if not mitigated
Typhoon recovery efforts should include watershed restoration
Tacloban City is one of the hardest hit cities of the 2013 Super Typhoon Haiyan. Aside from the recorded thousands of death, Haiyan is predicted to have altered the terrestrial ecology of the affected area. In particular, this study investigated the probable impact on water resources as a result of the change in forest cover resulting from Haiyan. An empirical method was adopted to estimate groundwater recharge from surface data of Tacloban City’s watersheds. Remote sensing and geographic information system techniques were used to acquire, integrate, and analyze data to come up with recharge estimates. Soil erosion was calculated using the openLISEM (Limburg Soil Erosion Model). A design storm with a total rainfall of 20 mm was used to compare the difference between the soil erosion considering the land cover change between 2013 and 2015. The results of the simulations indicated a 6% decrease in forest cover. This translated to a decrease in groundwater recharge and an initial seven-fold increase in soil loss due to higher erosion rates and larger surface water discharge. While validation of the calculated impacts on groundwater recharge, flooding events, and soil erosion is required, such estimation provides another dimension of long term effects of tropical cyclones in our country.