Angara urges govt to address ADB’s assessment on metro water supply
SENATOR Edgardo Angara called on the administration to take a more active role in assuring water supply services across the country as a recent report from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) highlighted the need to find an alternative source of water for Metro Manila.
The metropolis’ overdependence on Angat Dam was deemed unsustainable given that any damage to the dam from natural disasters like earthquakes or droughts could adversely affect Metro Manila and the utility’s area of responsibility both in the short- and long-term.
“We are a disaster-prone country, and our demand for water will only rise with the growth of our population and industries,” said Angara, Chair of the Senate sub-Committee on Water. “Therefore, it is imperative for us to secure multiple sources and create water catchments wherever necessary.”
The veteran lawmaker continued, “There must be swift action to address the risks the ADB report points out, but in no way should we stop there,” emphasized the veteran lawmaker, noting that around 16 million Filipinos—almost 20 percent of the population—have no access to potable water.
He then cited a study from the River Basin Control Office (RBCO) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that showed around 112 billion cubic meters—roughly 70 of the total water resources available to the country—is lost or waster each year.
“It’s unfortunate that for an archipelagic and tropical country such as ours, we only get to utilize a very small portion of our water resources,” said Angara.
He lamented that the weak and ineffective regulatory framework of the country’s water sector—over which around 16 different government agencies have some jurisdiction—results in the piecemeal development of water services across the country.
“The current setup has resulted in the deplorable situation where few parts of the country enjoy world-class water services, while many do not even have access to potable water,” underscored Angara. “To rectify this situation, our reforms have to be structural in their aim.”
Angara is the main proponent of two bills aimed at reforming the water sector namely the Water Sector Reform Act (SBN 2997) and the Water Regulatory Act (SBN2641).