The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has underscored the need to intensify promotion of rain harvesting methods, including catching rainwater through house gutter or alulod for non-potable household use, to help avert potential serious water shortage in the next few years.


The DENR made the proposal during the conclusion of the series of meetings in preparation for a multi-sectoral water summit to be held anytime this year. The pre-summit meetings, totaling seven, were geared toward developing a national water roadmap to be presented to President Rodrigo Duterte during the actual summit.


At the final pre-summit meeting held at Crowne Plaza Hotel in Ortigas complex on July 12, DENR Assistant Secretary for Policy and Planning Service Corazon Davis said the department, through the National Water Resources Board (NWRB), was committed to come up with strategic solutions to the looming water crisis in the country.


Davis noted that upon his assumption to office last May, DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu made it clear that the full implementation of the country's clean water laws would be one of his top priorities to ensure improved water quality in major water bodies, such as Laguna Lake, Pasig River and Manila Bay.


"Although the Philippines is known for its abundant water resources, we are now experiencing scarcity of water due to rapid urbanization, increasing population, indiscriminate use and management of waste, and water pollution," Davis told pre-summit meeting participants from various government agencies and the private sector.


While water scarcity has been a long-standing issue, Davis said "our ancestors have always managed to find a way around it" and one of the practical and reliable methods they used at home was the alulod water collection system.


Under this traditional system, people harvest rainwater by simply placing a drum or basin at the end of the alulod for domestic uses like flushing the toilet, watering the garden and washing clothes. It does not cover supply for drinking, food preparation or personal hygiene.


"Modern Filipino homes may be worth re-designing using alulods again," Davis said. "During the old days, the old folks use alulod to collect rainwater and divert it into the banga or the tapayan where it is stored for future use."


This proposal is consistent with one of the recommendations during the pre-summit meetings, which is to ensure increased rainwater harvesting through strong and innovative government regulations.


Examples of these regulations are the introduction of a new provision in the building code that would require rainwater harvesting system for new buildings, and mandating all government offices to use only water efficient structures like waterless urinals and shower facilities, which will catch the used water for re-channeling functions like toilet flushing.


NWRB Executive Director Sevillo David Jr., meanwhile, said there is a need to review the government's water catchment strategies.


"We will have to increase our strategies so that rainwater can be useful, instead of letting it flow back to the sea. Once we had the water stored in the catchment, people can use the water in a number of beneficial ways," David pointed out.


The DENR has long been pushing for the establishment of smaller water impounding dams in upstream portions of the country to serve as an immediate solution to flood disasters and to enable irrigation in downstream areas during the dry season.


To prevent further damage to the country's water resources, the DENR is intensifying its massive reforestation program in watershed areas.


The agency is currently reviewing the policies in implementing the National Greening Program to encourage farmers into planting more trees to bolster water security in the country. By planting trees, farmers can install water impounding areas on their farmlands and replenish the aquifers.


The pre-summit meetings were organized by the NWRB, in partnership with the Congress, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and various government agencies, including the Office of the Cabinet Secretary, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Public Works and Highways.


The Water Roadmap and Summit Tripartite Convenors, led by Senator Loren Legarda, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, and University of the Philippines Los Baños, are pushing for various ways to avert a potential water crisis in the country, including the creation of an apex body that will unify 30 water-related agencies, in addition to a separate strong regulatory body.


According to the Annual Poverty Indicators Survey in 2014, 15 million Filipinos still have to rely on unsafe water for their everyday drinking, cooking, and hygiene needs. In May 2016, a total of 18 provinces have remained under a state of calamity due to El Niño, which caused severe water shortages and reportedly destroyed P6 billion worth of crops in the Philippines. ###



Youth and student leaders in the province of Camarines Norte attended the Youth Environmental Forum facilitated by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) V on September 26, 2018 in Daet, Camarines Norte.

Experts from the National Youth Commission (NYC), DENR, Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) V and Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) V discussed topics on the role of youth in nation building, current state of the Philippine environment, biodiversity and sustainable tourism, geological hazards, ecological solid waste management and ecological responsibilities.

Provincial Environment and Natural Resources (PENR) Officer Joaquin Ed A. Guerrero in his message, challenged the youth on their contribution to help save the planet.

The forum became an avenue for the participants to interact and discuss ideas among their peers on the pressing environmental issues and their commitments toward environmental protection and conservation.


The DENR V recognizes the need to engage the youth on worthwhile activities and instill to the public that the conservation of the environment is a shared responsibility not just the government but the whole citizenry. (Article by: JNLoria)



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