Water is one of the most important substances on earth. Considering water’s importance in food security, resilience to climate change, and global health, especially during infectious disease outbreaks, everyone has a critical role in the achievement of sustainable development goal number 6 to ensure access to water and sanitation for all by 2030.
Here in the Philippines, our first National Integrated Water Resources Management Framework Plan was formulated in 2007. This was later used as a guiding document in developing sectoral plans such as the Integrated River Basin Management and Development Master Plan, the Philippine Water Supply Roadmap, and the National Climate Change Action Plan. This framework plan is also being used by local government units as guide in developing their plans and programs.
Further, 3 major national plans supportive of IWRM implementation have been approved by the government and are being implemented.
First, the Philippine Climate Change Action Plan up to 2028 is guided by the IWRM Framework Plan. Water sufficiency is a key priority area of the Plan, with desired outcomes focused on the resilience of major water resources and infrastructures, management of supply and demand, management of water quality, and promotion of conservation.
Second, the Philippine Eco-Efficient Water Infrastructure Strategic Roadmap, also guided by the principles of IWRM, provides guidance and direction to mainstream and institutionalize the EEWIN concept in the development planning and operational processes of the water sector.
Third, the National Master Plan of Small-scale Irrigation Projects for 2014-2022 promotes a holistic and systems approach to water management focusing on infrastructure development, research and development, watershed development, and institutional development for implementers and farmer-beneficiaries.
The Philippine National Water Security Roadmap is currently in the final stage of completion. This roadmap will integrate all initiatives in the sector, mainstreaming priority plans and programs to ensure budget allocation, policy reforms, and adaptation strategies to address the impending water crisis.
During this pandemic, our government’s utmost priority is to ensure that the country’s water resources are protected while continuously flowing for our citizenry’s health and sanitation. The government has issued guidelines stating that water services must be conserved yet flow unimpeded while the country is under a state of calamity.
In sum, the Philippine government recognizes that we still have a long way to go to achieve our goals. What is certain is that we are exerting our efforts to move forward with the entire global community towards water sustainability.