Issue of January 22,2017
by Jane B. Cadalig
A lawmaker is pushing for a consolidated effort to address the water shortage problem as a result of climate change.
Sen. Loren Legarda stressed the importance of consolidating all water agencies in the country and crafting a roadmap for sustainable water use.
The solon, who chairs the Senate Committee on Climate Change, made the statement after she convened with Environment Sec. Gina Lopez a meeting for the National Water Summit and drafting of a Water Sector Roadmap.
“Water is a very basic need yet we still have communities in the country that have no access to clean and potable water. The continued overlapping and fragmented regulation of water supply services in the country by several government entities is one factor that hinders the enactment of a doable and long-term solution to prevent water shortage,” she said.
A study by the World Resources Institute showed that the Philippines will likely experience severe water shortage by 2040 due to the combined impact of rapid population growth and climate change. The country ranks 57th out of 167 countries that are highly vulnerable to severe water shortage.
Locally, the Baguio Water District projected a shortage of supply by 2022 because of climate change and urbanization.
To abate a crisis, the water utility intends to tap more water sources and develop an efficient water management policy.
In 2015, the BWD had 38,518 service connections across 122 barangays in Baguio, excluding Kias, Fort del Pilar, Scout Barrio, Apugan, Atok Trail, Lucnab, and Happy Hallow.
At the Senate, Legarda said a solid water policy will help ensure food security.
“Water also affects our food security as agriculture accounts for much of our water consumption, which makes it vital for us to protect our watersheds. The issue of open defecation is likewise a national sanitation and health issue, which can be addressed if all Filipinos have access to clean water,” Legarda said.
Legarda also called for the stricter implementation of the Rainwater Collection and Harvesting Act which requires the building of catchments in homes and public and private buildings, so that rainwater can later be used for cleaning, watering gardens, and other industrial purposes.