Press Release
October 19, 2009


In the wake of twin typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng, and in preparation for upcoming typhoon Ramil, Senator Loren Legarda today called for the urgent implementation of the law mandating the collection of rainwater in all barangays. This would prevent flooding and ensure the continuous provision of clean water during dry seasons.

"If even half of the barangays in Manila had rainwater collection systems in place, there would be virtually no flooding during rainy seasons. And during dry seasons, we would have enough water to distribute despite the dropping water tables that cause problems in summer," said Legarda, chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change.

RA 6716 provides for the construction of water wells, rainwater collectors, development of springs and rehabilitation of existing water wells in all barangays in the Philippines. A Barangay Waterworks and Sanitation Association shall be formed to operate and maintain the rainwater collection facilities. A rainwater collection facility has the following components: catchment, treatment and distribution. Rainwater is collected in rooftops, then purified in a central treatment system to be pumped, finally, to various water lines.

"We don't even have to make a new law. We just have to implement an existing one. This 20-year old law solves two problems at once: flooding and water shortages," she emphasized.

"Rainwater is a clean and costless source of water. A rain water collection system is not that expensive to install and once the initial investment is recouped everything is free."

Ondoy brought 410mm of rain to the city of Manila over a total land area of 14.9 square miles. If collected, this could supply water to critical areas in Metro Manila experiencing seasonal water problems. In some middle class subdivisions, the faucets flow only for a few hours every day, and for some, every other day.

Metro Manila is one of nine major cities identified as "water-critical" in a study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The other 8 cities are Metro Cebu, Davao, Baguio, Angeles, Bacolod, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro and Zamboanga.

"Climate change puts new pressures on our natural resources, and affects the way we distribute resources in entirely new and unpredictable ways. With the Philippines becoming increasingly vulnerable to extreme weather, rainwater collection is a simple and cost-effective way to secure precious water resources. Government should lead water conservation and push for green building," she said.

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