The House of Representatives approved on second reading House Bill No. 4340 or the proposed “Rainwater Harvesting Facility Act,” which seeks to require the establishment and maintenance of rainwater harvesting facilities in all new institutional, commercial, and residential development projects in Metro Manila.

HB 4340, principally authored by Quezon City 2nd District Rep. Winston Castelo aims to encourage the conservation of potable water.

“The bill aims to encourage the conservation of potable water.”

The bill seeks to ensure the provision of adequate supply of clean water appropriate for domestic use and sanitation purposes while promoting environmentalism by changing the way communities, workplaces, and places of leisure are being constructed.

“It is the intent of this measure to require all new subdivisions, condominiums, communities, malls, government institutions, central business districts, information technology parks, and other vital public and private establishments to construct rain harvesting facilities to preempt floods caused by incessant and continuous heavy rains and storms,” said Castelo.

The bill recognizes that government shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature. It specifies that to mitigate the adverse effects of a continuing growth in population and widening community developments, the State shall ensure that Metro Manila local governments units (LGUs) are capacitated to respond to threats brought about by natural calamities and disasters, such as massive flooding.

It provides that an owner or developer of a new commercial, institutional, and residential development project in Metro Manila, with an area of at least 1,500 square meters and requiring the issuance of a building permit, shall reserve, develop, and maintain at least 3 percent of the total area as a rainwater harvesting facility, exclusive of roads, service streets, and alleys.

To further conserve potable water, rainwater collected may be utilized for non-potable and sustainable purposes, such as for gardening and air-cooling processes.

Rainwater collected may be utilized for non-potable and sustainable purposes, such as for gardening and air-cooling processes.

The measure mandates the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) and the LGUs to disapprove the design proposals of the development projects that do not incorporate a rainwater harvesting facility. With this, LGUs may only issue building permits to those who abide by the provisions of the proposed Act.

The bill stipulates that rainwater harvesting facilities must be designed to cope with a pre-determined flood as well as rain return period and must have the storage capacity prescribed by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

The proposed designs of these facilities shall be required to include the following: (a) size, shape, and physical characteristics of available space, (b) construction plans with specified material type including lining and coating requirements, and (c) detailed sketch on how the installation will drain into an outfall structure such as drywell or percolation chamber, storm drain system, drainage channel, or natural wash.

As prescribed in the measure, the owner or developer of all new commercial, institutional and residential development projects in Metro Manila who fails to build a rainwater harvesting facility shall be penalized with a fine of P500,000 up to P2 million for every year of non-compliance.

Involved individuals in government institutions who issue licenses or permits in violation of the provisions of the Act shall be suspended for 10 to 180 days.


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