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Legarda Pushes for Nature-Based Solutions, Stricter Law Enforcement to Address Water Crisis

March 21, 2018

On World Water Day, March 22, Senator Loren Legarda encouraged national and local government officials to explore nature-based solutions and strictly enforce existing laws in order to prevent water crisis and shortage in the country.

For this year’s celebration of World Water Day, which carries the theme of “Nature for Water,” Legarda joins the global call to highlight the potential of nature-based solutions for water, such as restoring wetlands for water storage and soil moisture; conservation agriculture to prevent soil erosion; and reconnecting rivers to floodplains to mitigate flooding due to climate change.

“Providing access to clean and safe drinking water to all Filipinos remains a huge challenge. On top of that, studies show that there is a looming shortage of water in our country. We should explore further how these nature-based options could complement our existing measures and policies to prevent a water crisis,” Legarda said.

Citing the report “Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water: 2015 Update and MDG Assessment”[1] by the World Health Organization (WHO), Legarda said that an estimated 7.1 million Filipinos openly defecate and another one million Filipinos use unimproved sanitation facilities, such as buckets or pits, as toilets.

She added that 3.5 million Filipinos rely on surface drinking water sources, such as rivers, dams, lakes, ponds, canals, streams, and irrigation channels; while another 5.09 million use unimproved drinking water sources, such as tanker trucks, unprotected dug wells and springs.

Legarda also shared the study of the World Resources Institute (WRI) stating that the Philippines will experience a “high” degree of water shortage by 2040, which will substantially affect the agriculture sector.[2]

She also emphasized that national and local government officials must also ensure that landmark laws on water, such as the Clean Water Act and the Rainwater Collector Act, are implemented to augment water supply and provide safe drinking water and sanitation facilities to those without access to it.

“Access to safe drinking water is a basic right that each and every Filipino and person around the world is entitled to. As we celebrate this global event, may we reinforce our efforts and call to protect and preserve water, which flows and brings life into our body,” Legarda concluded.