President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has issued an executive order (EO) creating the Office of Water Management, tasked to manage the country’s water resources.
Senator Grace Poe said the creation of a water management office was most welcome even as pertinent bills in Congress were still being threshed out.
“I just signed an executive order wherein we have created the Office of Water Management. There are many agencies that are involved in water supply and water management and it has just evolved that way,” Mr. Marcos Jr. said in his speech during the opening of the 6th Edition of the Water Philippines Conference and Exposition at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.
The President said he wants to employ modern technology and strategies in the management of water resources in the country to ensure adequate water supply that meets the needs of the people.
The President said there are technologies available to efficiently manage the water resources in an area to provide the people with clean and affordable water.
“I happened to – have been given the opportunity to walk around a little bit and see some of the exhibitors. And it is very gratifying to note that in fact the technologies that are being used, that are being employed in terms of water treatment, in terms of water management are well-known technologies,” he said
“And so I am very optimistic that the solutions that we need to formulate are out there, the technologies are out there. What has continued to change in the light of climate change is the management, the stratagems on how we manage our water,” the President said.
The Chief Executive also said the flood control projects have evolved through the years along with the changing times.
“When we used to talk a few years ago, when I was still governor, when you said water management, it generally meant flood control. And we would put dikes, we would put dams so as to be able to control the flooding,” Marcos said.
“However, now, we must think in a very different way. Flood control, although many of the projects that the government has undertaken is categorized as flood control, these flood control projects no longer just are exclusively for that. We take the water and we use it for irrigation, we use it for drinking water if we have a treatment plant,” the President said.
“And so when they say water is life, it’s not just a cliché, it’s a truism. And it is something that we must always keep in mind especially now. And that’s why, we in the government – I just signed an executive order wherein we have created the Office of Water Management,” he added..
In February, Marcos approved the creation of a Water Resource Management Office (WRMO) to manage the country’s water resources and respond to the current environmental challenges.
The WRMO, which will be under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, will be a transitory body pending the creation of the Department of Water Resources.
Its main functions include formulating and ensuring the implementation of the Integrated Water Management Plan, which will integrate various plans of different agencies.
“This is a timely intervention from the Executive which will hopefully alleviate the creeping water crisis in the country,” Poe said.
As an archipelago surrounded with water, Poe noted that it is ironic that we have a water crisis in our hands due to a fragmented resource management.
Currently, at least 30 line-agencies are tasked with the administration of water in the country resulting to policy and regulatory conflicts among these agencies.
“We expect that this development lays down the groundwork for a more integrated and holistic approach to the water problem,” the senator said.
“A whole-of-government approach is also necessary to tackle the issues of sourcing and misuse of water in the country,” she said.
Both the legislative and the executive departments were working hard at a more lasting solution in the form of a new water reform bill to ensure sufficient, clean, and affordable water for all Filipinos.