Local water districts (LWDs) must work overtime to adequately service their customers given the fast pace of development in Central Luzon.
Welcoming participants of the “Local Development means Local Involvement: The Role of LGUs in Water and Wastewater Management” roundtable discussion (RTD) at Hotel Stotsenberg in Clarkfield, Pampanga, Pampanga Association of Water Districts (PAMAWD) President and Angeles City Water District General Manager Reynaldo Liwanag said that many LWDs admitted that keeping up with the development of their respective areas was the biggest challenge facing their sector today.
“In Angeles, we are able to supply our customers, but we can barely keep abreast with the city’s development,” said Liwanag, a mechanical engineer who is actively involved in water district associations like the PAMAWD, the Water Environment Association of the Philippines, Inc., and Philippine Water Works Association.
“Almost all LWDs say this is the challenge: how to ensure supply keeps up with development.”
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) earlier this year announced that in 2016, Central Luzon recorded its highest economic growth rate in six years at 9.5%. The figure is higher than the country’s 2016 national growth rate of 6.9%. The PSA pegged the gross regional domestic product (GRDP) of Central Luzon at 773.28 billion pesos, 67 billion pesos greater than the region’s economic output in 2015.
With the third highest gross domestic product (GDP) in the country – just behind the National Capital Region and Davao – Bureau of Internal Revenue Revenue Region 4 (RR4) Regional Director Jethro Sabariaga said this would have a positive effect on the collection of revenues for government and help sustain economic growth in the region.
Philippine Water Partnership (PWP) Chairperson lawyer Nathaniel Santos said that water is a crucial element in sustainable and inclusive development.
“Ensuring water supplies and wisely managing water resources is a key component to sustaining the robust growth of Central Luzon,” said the lawyer.
“The continued success of economic zones like Clark and other growth centers in the region depends a lot on how LGU execs and LWDs manage precious water supplies for local residents and businesses, especially in light of increased demand as a consequence of increased trade and investments,” Santos explained.
“To paraphrase a previous participant – a mayor from one of the fastest-growing cities in Luzon – water is a local challenge that requires a local solution. It has become increasingly apparent, after all these consultations, that the local development means local involvement framework is the most viable response to the challenges faced by LGUs and LWDs.”
PWP is a non-government organization affiliated with the Global Water Partnership. It assists the government and provides a neutral venue for discussions on integrated water resources management.
The Clark RTD is part of a series of workshops organized in key areas throughout Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao as vital consultative and feedback fora for LGU officials, LWD executives and stakeholders. The RTDs’ main objective is to better understand and define the role of the LGUs in local water resources management and development.