PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Thursday, March 23, 2023, raised the need for the country to find new ways to manage its water supply as he admitted that there is a “water crisis” in the country.
Marcos led the opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony of the sixth edition of the Water Philippines Conference and Exposition in Pasay City, where he emphasized the importance of looking into the country’s water situation and how it affected the daily lives of the Filipinos.
He expressed openness to employ modern technology and strategies in the management of water resources in the country to ensure an ample water supply that meets the needs of the people.
“I was very surprised in the past years, even as senator, even as governor, that no one was speaking about water problems. Whereas every single urban community and even some rural communities in the Philippines have a water crisis,” he said.
“And it’s something that we have continually postponed. We do not examine it. We do not look at it, just find other ways and put up with the idea that once in a while we’ll have to pull out our buckets and fill our bathtubs with water because there’s not going to be water for the next 24 hours,” he added.
Marcos said the majority of the water in the country are still taken from underground aquifers, but if the surface water is being managed properly, there is no longer need for further digging of wells, which affect the water table underneath and consequently affect agriculture, construction and infrastructure, among others.
He cited the water management practices in Israel, where the majority of the land is desert. There, the water collected during the rainy season is recycled at least three times.
“They are able to collect the water during the rainy season, whatever is available, they put fish in it to grow fish. When the summer comes, they take it out, take out the water, harvest the fish, and then that goes to irrigation and forth,” said Marcos.
“So in essence, they use water three times. Every bit of fresh water is used more than once. These are the kinds of thinking that we have to apply to the Philippines because of the crisis that we are facing and how debilitating it will be to the entire economy, to the entire society if our water supply problem continues to get greater, continues to become more dependent on what we have been doing in the past i.e. ground water or just putting up with the water shortages,” he added.
Marcos, who serves as the concurrent secretary of the Department of Agriculture, also highlighted the importance of water in the agriculture sector, noting the impacts of water scarcity on food security.
In February, Marcos approved the creation of a Water Resource Management Office (WRMO) to manage the country’s water resources and respond to the current environmental challenges.
The WRMO, which will be under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, will be a transitory body pending the creation of the Department of Water Resources.
Its main functions include formulating and ensuring the implementation of the Integrated Water Management Plan, which will integrate various plans of different agencies. (SunStar Philippines)
March 23, 2023
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