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Loren: Streamline Efforts To Provide Clean Water For RP

February 18, 2010

WARNING THAT THE SUPPLY OF FRESH AND CLEAN WATER FOR FILIPINOS HAS DWINDLED CRITICALLY, SENATOR LOREN LEGARDA CALLED FOR A CONCERTED EFFORT OF GOVERNMENT, BUSINESS, CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC TO CONSERVE AND CLEAN THE COUNTRY’S WATER RESOURCES.
“The severe pollution of the Pasig River and growing scarcity of water are symbolic of our government’s neglect of rivers, seas, forests and other water resources. Water is life. We waste or pollute it at the risk of the quality of life and very survival of our people,” said Loren who chairs the Senate Committee on Climate Change.
She added, “The government should include in the economic stimulus package projects for the sustainable conservation of water resources and the cleaning of rivers, starting with the Pasig River and its tributaries. We should include all other endangered major waterways in other cities and regions of our archipelago to provide clean water to other urban and rural areas.”
“In this way we provide constructive employment to thousands of unemployed and at the same time conserve our fresh water and ocean resources, improve the environment, boost food productivity and enhance the lives of millions of families who depend on these resources for their livelihood,” she stressed.
Loren expressed alarm over the decreasing quantity of clean water available to Filipinos “due to UTTER neglect by accountable government agencies and some elements of the private sector.” Loren also batted for cheaper and more efficient delivery of clean drinking water to both urban and rural populations to avoid the proliferation of water-sourced diseases.
She pointed out that in 1996, it was assessed that the Philippines was blessed with 226,430 million cubic meters (MCM) of freshwater, affording Filipinos a total supply of 975 MCM of water per day or approximately 14 cubic meters per capita per day.
In 2004, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) revealed that every Filipino is now limited to access to a little more than five cubic meters of water per day, or 1,907 cu. m. of freshwater per year.
“Today, because of our increasing population, the demand for drinking and safe water, not to mention water for irrigation and industrial purposes, has been increasing at a faster rate. In terms of groundwater availability it is supposed to be decreasing by 1.4 percent a year. If this is not a crisis, I don’t know what IT is,” said.
Loren is a multi-awarded journalist on environmental issues.
Loren said that included among these unfortunates are thousands of Filipino children, including adults, especially in rural areas, who die from diseases due to water pollution and lack of safe drinking water. “This is unacceptable in the third millennium,” said Loren.
She appealed for “an integrated and sustainable approach to water resource management and an end to unsustainable consumption patterns, poor management practices, pollution, and inadequate investment in infrastructure and low efficiency in water-use. This requires a concerted effort by our government, the private sector and our entire POPULACE.”
“The country may be blessed with abundant water at this time, but we face an acute water crisis in the near future if we do not conserve this vital resource,” said Loren.