Press Release
October 8, 2010


Senator Edgardo J. Angara said that the government should carefully monitor the nation's water footprint in order to avert a worsening water crisis.

Angara noted that a recent study by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) projected that 1,907 cubic meters of fresh water would be available to a person per year, which would rank the Philippines as the second lowest of countries with fresh water availability in the region.

"All sectors, either public or private, use water through direct consumption or through producing and consuming other goods. The total volume of utilized freshwater is called a water footprint, much like a carbon footprint is used to measure the units of carbon pollution generated by an individual or institution," said Angara.

Angara, chair of the Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) recently convened local and foreign water experts to seek solutions to problems in water supply and demand management, alternative sources of water, financing and Public-Private Partnerships, flood control and other water-related issues.

"A nation's water footprint helps water-related institutions because the statistics enable them to decide what strategies to employ to achieve the highest possible productivity with the lowest possible costs. It gives a more concrete basis as to what projects to pursue than merely looking at how much water is available for usage," said Angara.

Angara stated that understanding the nations water footprint is important because it links the amount of usable water to human consumption. It displays the discrepancies between water availability and usage. Governments find water footprints useful because they do not only indicate the amount of available water but also at how water is used. Hence, governments are able to evaluate what modes of production to maintain and what to eliminate.

"We should concern ourselves with our national water footprint because it can guide our legislature as to what policies in agriculture, industry, and trade to implement. The government in short has a mandated influence on what social units can and cannot do and it starts with policies," emphasized Angara.

According to a study conducted by UNESCO-IHE (Institute for Water Education), the national water footprint is composed of two kinds of footprints: internal and external. A nation's internal water footprint indicates the water volume produced and consumed by residents within a domestic area. A nation's external water footprint indicates the water volume consumed by residents via consumption of imported goods and services.

"There are too many issues concerning water that we have continually failed to recognize and address. The UN has identified the Philippines as ranking 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," said Angara.

COMSTE and University of the Philippines - Institute of Community Education (UP-ICE) are currently working together to draft proposed amendments to existing laws or push for new bills that can incorporate better strategies for water management.

News Latest News Feed