Senator Sonny Angara, who is seeking another six-year Senate term in the upcoming May 2019 elections, said it is imperative that the government implement practical measures, like rainwater collection, to help communities cope with drought and El Niño events.
Speaking to Dumaguete reporters Angara (left) expressed his concern on the water crisis in Manila hoping it will not come down to the provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao.
“Since droughts and water scarcity have become a more common occurrence, it is necessary that we come up with measures to improve the country’s water management system to prevent a full-blown water crisis in the future,” Angara said in a statement.
Angara made the call as authorities warned of possible water shortages in the coming months due to the El Niño phenomenon.
The senator said the government ought to build more water catchment basins and other infrastructure requirements to meet the country’s water demands.
He also called for the full implementation of a 30-year-old law, Republic Act 6716, which mandates the construction of rainwater collectors in every barangay nationwide.
“RA 6716, which was approved in March 1989, mandates the collection of rainwater in barangays to ensure provision of fresh water,” the lawmaker pointed out.
“This covers the entire process, from catchment to treatment and distribution,” he said.
Angara also noted that community-based rainwater harvesting systems had been proven quite effective in several countries like India, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.
“Why shouldn’t we implement the same, especially since we get an abundance of rain during the rainy season?” he asked.
Angara pointed out that as early as 2007, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) had already warned that the country’s clean water supply could be depleted by 2025 should the government fail to act and invest in water management and infrastructure.
Among the cities identified as “water critical” include Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, Davao, Baguio, Angeles, Bacolod, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro and Zamboanga.
“Because of the situation, the country’s aging and inadequate water infrastructure needs immediate review and rehabilitation,” Angara said.
“This recurring water problem needs urgent attention. Every minute of inaction prolongs and compounds the problem of overexploitation and unsustainable use of water, a vital but increasingly limited resource,” he stressed.