By Filane Mikee Cervantes
MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Thursday emphasized the need to use new and emerging technologies to improve the management of the country’s water resources and provide safe and affordable water to all.
Marcos made the statement during the opening of the 6th Edition of the Water Philippines Conference and Exposition at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.
“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.”
Marcos particularly pointed out that flood control projects have evolved through the years, along with the changing times, noting that these are no longer just exclusively used for that.
“We take the water and we use it for irrigation, we use it for drinking water if we have a treatment plant,” he said, adding that water can be used to produce power with small hydroelectric plants.
He also cited Israel’s experience showing how it promotes the sustainable use of clean water for various purposes despite having a limited water supply.
“I’d spent some time in Israel and I saw how they treat the water because water is very scarce. They live in the desert. Nevertheless, they are able to collect the water during the rainy season, whatever is available, they put fish in it to grow fish. When the summer comes, they take it out, take out the water, harvest the fish, and then that goes to irrigation and so forth,” Marcos said.
He said the Philippines could learn from Israel and apply this approach to achieve water security.
“These are the kinds of thinking that we have to apply to the Philippines because of the crisis that we are facing and how debilitating it will be to the entire economy, to the entire society if our water supply problem continues to get greater, continues to become more dependent on what we have been doing in the past,” he said.
Marcos also highlighted the creation of the Water Resource Management Office (WRMO) to manage the country’s water resources and respond to the current environmental challenges.
“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 said.
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 the various plans of different agencies. (PNA)