Press Release
May 12, 2010

Angara to lead COMSTE's water conservation and sanitation
conference in Aurora

Senator Edgardo J. Angara, chair of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) will lead the commission's Water WATCH (Wise Adaptation of Technologies for Clean H20) Conference to be held from May 14 to 16 in Baler, Aurora.

The conference brings together national leaders, local governments, financial institutions, international experts, and non-governmental organizations to craft a strategy that addresses water and sanitation issues.

According to Angara, "the water crisis is a silent crisis in the Philippines, because issues concerning water have long been neglected. And yet, it encompasses a myriad of problems that affect our bid towards sustainable development. Water is a health issue. More than a third of diseases in the Philippines are water-borne. It is a food security issue. Rice, our staple food, is heavily dependent on water. Approximately 3,000 liters ofwater is needed to grow one kilogram of rice. And because more than a third of our labor force depend on agriculture, water also affects rural livelihood, and development in the countryside."

Angara said that "our failure to recognize issues concerning water has affected the quality of life of most Filipinos. The UN has ranked the Philippines as 84th out of 177 countries in the Human Development Report, and one of the main reasons for this is the poor distribution of water and sanitation in the country."

"We've got to start taking action against the water crisis. According to the Asian Development Bank, river and groundwater systems in the Philippines will fail by 2025, unless we start cleaning up our act now," Angara said.

But all hope is not yet lost, according to Angara, who turns to science and innovative technology for solutions to the water crisis.

"We now have technologies that address our problems on water. Some, like rainharvesting systems in India and Japan, have existed for hundreds of years. What we need is a sound strategy on how to use these technologies to ensure adequate water supply that is clean and healthful," Angara said.

"The Water WATCH conference will create that strategy for the province of Aurora. Our province has a lot of alternative sources of water, which can be used to supply clean water in the province and adjoining provinces," said Angara.

The conference will discuss water supply and demand management; alternative sources of water, monitoring water quality, and financing public-private partnerships for water infrastructures. It will feature specific technologies on water reuse for agriculture, harnessing energy from water, and flood control. The conference will also hold a talk on the bottled water industry from Norland International, a top company from the United States.

The Congressional Commission on Science & Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) is mandated to review and assess the state of competitiveness of Science and Technology and Engineering research and development systems in the country.

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