President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is studying a proposal to adopt an Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) program for the country.
“This program is an approach to promote the coordinated development and management of water, land, and related resources to maximize economic and social welfare without compromising our ecosystem,” the Office of the President said on its official Facebook page.
Marcos concurrently serves as Secretary of the Department of Agriculture.
In his first State of the Nation Address on July 25, the President urged Congress to pass a measure creating a Department of Water Resources.
He said the proposed IWRM will be adopted as the strategic framework for national water management, policymaking, and planning once the department is created.
Marcos also said he wanted the government to look into the freshwater supply situation in the country, especially in urban areas.
He noted that many of the country’s water supply systems date back to the 1950s and must now be rehabilitated and improved.
The President has instructed the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Public Works and Highways to explore possible partnerships with the private sector to address this crucial situation.
Marcos in his SONA enumerated 19 measures which he hoped Congress would pass, including the creation of the said Department of Water Resources.
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benhur Abalos said it’s a crucial requirement to manage water resources better.
“It is unfortunate that in this day and age, water is still a luxury for many Filipinos who still do not have access to clean drinking water,” Abalos said. “With the creation of a Department of Water
Resources, there will be a dedicated government agency that will integrate and harmonize water management efforts of different water agencies and ensure the optimal management of water resources.”
The proposed Department of Water Resources will also improve the chances of bringing a steady supply of clean and potable water to about 842 towns in the Philippines still without proper access to water.
“Water is not an infinite resource. Hence, we need this new Department to better manage and preserve this essential resource to meet the needs of the growing population,” he added.