Press Release
December 12, 2019


As she stresses the need for a single agency, Sen. Grace Poe said the search and development of new water sources should continue to ensure steady supply.

Poe said officials of water concessionaires, at the hearing of the public services committee which she heads, mentioned several proposals for interim water sources, which were either waiting for approval or have been given the go-signal.

Some of these are the expansion of the Cardona water treatment plant, extraction from the Marikina River of around 40 million liters per day using a new technology, and digging deep wells.

One of the projects that has been approved by state regulator Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage Systems (MWSS) is the building of a new facility in the east bay of Laguna Lake, which Poe said should help ease water supply in the metropolis.

"While we work towards the creation of a water agency, we look forward to these projects to meet immediate needs," Poe said.

"Water is a vital gift of nature, but the most misused and ignored. We should act quickly to make productive use of the water assets that we have," Poe said.

Poe asked the MWSS to submit to the committee a comprehensive list of proposals for new water sources or expansion of existing ones and their status.

The senator said one of the measures that could address the complex problems facing the country on water supply, sanitation and resources development would be the creation of a single agency that will have a mandate and accountability over all water concerns.

There are dozens of agencies involved in water with overlapping mandates, but without single accountability, Poe noted.

The country is also faced with web of issues involving water management, such as allegedly disadvantageous contracts with the concessionaires, rights over water resources, failure to tap water sources, among others.

"No single agency is accountable for all the water concerns we are experiencing," Poe stressed. "The last thing we want is for agencies and private entities to be pointing fingers as to who is at fault. We need to act fast to address the situation because demand is increasing and we are not producing enough quality water for the Filipinos," she added.

There are several pending bills proposing a water body, including one filed by Poe, which seeks to establish an independent central water agency.

According to Poe, there are over 30 government agencies tasked to manage and oversee various aspects of the country's water resources.

In addition, there are 574 water districts, 1,500 local government water utilities, which also regulate water service provision in their areas, 500 rural water supply associations, 200 cooperatives, and 900 assorted private firms.

"This fragmentation has had significant implications in the effective and adequate delivery of water and sanitation services," she said.

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