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PASSAGE OF WATER RESOURCES MGM’T DEPT BILL URGED

AGRI Party-list Rep. Wilbert Lee urged the Congress leadership to tackle soon proposals to create a Department of Water Resources Management, as he said the “disorganized and unwieldy framework governing the country’s water resources is untenable amid increasing food insecurity.”

Lee is the author of House Bill No. 2880, which is among a number of bills seeking to create the Department of Water Resources Management which will be tasked with developing and implementing a comprehensive water usage and conservation program for the country.

Currently, there are at least 32 different agencies tasked with managing the Philippines’ water resources, which contributed to the country placing at the bottom third of 48 countries that the Asian Development Bank has ranked in terms of water governance in 2018.

Among the tasks the DWRM will be mandated to fulfill are:

 1. Implement necessary policy and resource reforms with respect to the management of all water resources including irrigation, sewage, and sanitation;

 2. Monitor and evaluate compliance with the national goals relating to water, irrigation, sewage, and sanitation;

 3. Formulate a national updated road map to address the water, sewage, and sanitation requirements of the State; and

 4. Improve the conservation of water and increase system efficiencies.

The bill also seeks to promote the use of rainwater harvesting facilities throughout the country to augment its water supply needs.

Currently, there are at least 32 different agencies tasked with managing the Philippines’ water resources, which contributed to the country placing in the bottom third of 48 countries that the Asian Development Bank has ranked in terms of water governance in 2018.

Lee, who belongs to the minority in Congress, said the creation of the DWRM is urgently needed, with the country expected to lose $124 billion by 2050 from water-related risks, like strong storms, intense floods, and prolonged droughts.

The projection was revealed in the “Aquanomics: The Economics of Water Risk and Future Resilience” study by global professional services company GHD, with the finding, further saying that the amount translates to an average annual gross domestic product (GDP) loss of 0.7 percent, especially as five out of the 20 typhoons that hit the country annually are described by the Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC) as highly destructive.

Lee, who belongs to the minority in Congress, said the creation of the DWRM is urgently needed, with the country expected to lose $124 billion until 2050 from water-related risks, like strong storms, intense floods and prolonged droughts.

He emphasized the need for government to put in place mechanisms to mitigate the projected loss.

Even pending the bill, the government should act to protect farmers so that the country’s food security would not be imperiled, he added.

“Hindi na natin maaaring ipagpaliban pa ang pagtataguyod ng departamentong ito. Simbolo ng watak-watak at hindi epektibong pamamahala ang kasalukuyang sistema, kaya nararapat lang na sa lalong madaling panahon ay ayusin na,” Lee said.

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