Businessmen call on gov’t, private sector to address ‘telling signs’
The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) is seeking the creation of a “super agency” that will address the possible “severe water shortage” by 2025.
“Metro Manila, along with several key cities in the country including Angeles, Baguio, Cebu, and Davao, would most likely experience severe water shortage by 2025. What we are experiencing right now are telling signs that point in that direction,” said ECCP vice president Henry V. Schumacher.
“We needed to come out with ways where everyone would continue to have access to sustainable water supply. There has to be water security in the country. Filipinos must learn how to conserve water and reduce water pollution,” Schumacher said.
He called for an immediate multisectoral dialogue to address and avert a looming water crisis in the country. The Philippines is the second Southeast Asian country to sound the alarm on the scarcity of water supply. Thailand already made the warning last month.
Schumacher said there was a need for the government, private sector and water industry stakeholders to meet and come up with solutions amid water level dropping to critical levels due to the El Niño phenomenon.
Stakeholders should be able to draft and implement solutions that would ensure there was enough water supply for the agriculture sector and that drinking water remained readily available, he said.
Schumacher said it was unacceptable for the Philippines to be experiencing a water crisis when freshwater supply from dams, lakes, rivers and streams is placed at 146 billion cubic meters, while groundwater is at 20 billion cubic meters.
The ECCP official stressed the need for increased investments in seeking fresh water sources and using technology to develop modern sewerage treatments and desalination.
“There is enough freshwater that can be tapped. It is just a matter of proper management, infrastructure development, coordination between the government and private sector, and the public learning how to use them properly,” Schumacher said.
“A lot of communities in the provinces right now are being deprived of reliable water supply. In 10 years, these very same communities, heavily dependent on farming, would have no water supply if water resources were not managed properly,” he said.
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