Senator Edgardo J. Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, underscored the need to improve the country's water management system to help us cope with the destructive effects of climate change.
“Over 30 government agencies have a say in how the water sector are managed resulting to a very inefficient setup where resources are handled differently throughout the country,” said Angara.
He added, “The horrible effects of climate change are already taking place. Wet seasons are likely to become wetter and summers drier, hence the need to adopt serious reforms particularly in the water sector. We need to build flood control systems,water catchment basins and other necessary infrastructure. Yet, that also means we need to get more organized so that this infrastructure is deployed, maintained and managed in the most cost-effective, consistent manner.”
The veteran lawmaker noted that Thailand’s cabinet has recently approved a budget allotment of US$11 billion for infrastructure and water management in light of the floods that devastated the country in 2011. The Thai cabinet has also expressed its plans to create an agency that will centralize water management.
“We should learn from our neighboring countries like Thailand. We need to realize that better water management leads to better climate change adaptation, which in turn helps in cultivating investor confidence. Thus, we need to hasten the passage of a measure that streamlines our water sector to make it more efficient," stressed Angara.
Angara is the principal author and sponsor of Senate Bill 2997 or the Water Sector Reform Act (WSRA) which aims to establish a framework for the efficient management of the country’s water resources by mainstreaming the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) approach of the Global Water Partnership (GWP).
The measure re-organizes the country into Provincial Water Resources Zones (PWRZ’s), providing that certain portions should be structured into River Basin Clusters (RBC’s).
Furthermore, the bill seeks to create River Basin Organizations (RBOs) composed of representatives from different sectors within the RBCs. Among other things, an RBO will be responsible for engaging in Flood Risk Management (FRM) with respect to their designated RBC.
Public hearings on the measure will be conducted later this month.(30)