Lawmaker warns of shortage of potable water in the near future

A lawmaker has warned that Metro Manila and nearby provinces are facing shortage of potable water in the near future if the government will not explore other sources of water to address the situation.

“The presumed abundance of water as a resource, given our climate and geographical location, should not make the government complacent as the progress of industry and the massive urbanization continues to threaten the supply of potable water in Metro Manila and other urban zones,” said Rep. Mark Villar (Lone District, Las Piñas City), author of House Resolution 2619.

Villar urged the House Committees on Appropriations and the Metro Manila Development to conduct an inquiry on the need to develop water sources in Metro Manila and other nearby provinces based on the study conducted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

“The objective of this measure is to maintain a continuous supply of water and to craft relevant legislation to ensure sustainability of water supply for the welfare of Metropolitan Manila residents,” Villar said.

Citing the “Good Practice in Urban Water Management,” a study conducted by the ADB, Villar said Metro Manila and other provinces should tap other sources of water to prepare in a situation like a long draught and earthquakes which could damage the dams that are the primary sources of water at present.

Villar also cited data from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Master Plan on Water Resources Management in the Philippines, which says that only 1,907 cubic meters of fresh water would be available to each person each year, making the Philippines second to the lowest among Southeast Asian countries with available fresh water.

The National Water Regulatory Board (NWRB) has identified nine water-critical urbanized areas where water is consumed intensively — Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, Davao, Baguio City, Angeles City, Bacolod City, Iloilo City, Cagayan de Oro City, and Zamboanga City.

Villar said water management is the activity of planning, developing, distributing and managing the optimum use of water resources

“The challenge left to the country is for the government to develop new sources of water supply which is capable of sustaining better and cleaner water supply for the people’s consumption not only in Metro Manila but in the entire country,” Villar said.

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