New senators offer solutions to water crisis

INCOMING senators have offered different ways to address the water shortage.

Senator-elect Francis Tolentino wants to push for the establishment of a Department of Water that will “synchronize” the functions of all agencies handling water supply  -- National Water Resources Board (NWRD), Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA).

“Siguro it’s about time that we have this Department of Water to synchronize all the functions of NWRB, MWSS, oversight doon sa Maynilad and Manila Water plus national integration of services and activities of LWUA,” said Tolentino.

“It would also concern the sourcing, conservation, regulation, pricing, as well as the sustainability of potable drinking water,” the incoming senator added.

Meanwhile, Senator-elect Imee Marcos advised the public to conserve water for the moment as she described the issue as already an “emergency situation.”

However, in the long run, she said the government should revisit the plans to build new sources of water such as dams.

“Balikan natin ‘yung mga plano tungkol sa iba’t ibang dam, alam naman natin yung mga dam eh kulang na kulang. Panahon pa ng tatay ko ‘yung mga Angat na ‘yan at ‘yung mga inaasahan para sa Metro Manila, halos hindi na nadagdagan so I think it’s time to revisit all those plans, re-engineer,” Marcos said.

She also proposed to “look at the contracts of all water concessionaires” citing “very obvious violations.”

Senator-elect Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, on the other hand proposed that the government should consider desalination.

“Problema nila (Israel) noon ang water, pero nagkakaroon sila ng teknolohiya wherein maco-convert ‘yung saltwater from the sea, ginawang potable water at pandilig sa mga halaman,” Dela Rosa stressed.

“Ewan ko kung gaano kamahal yung technology na yan pero baka kaya natin yan,” he added.
For the meantime, the government should strengthen its management of water resources, Dela Rosa said.

“Management lang siguro ang kulang dito para ma-manage nang husto para makarating talaga sa mga local government units ang mga tubig na yan,” the senator-elect said.

“Pero kung wala nang ibang paraan, yun, ‘yung teknolohiya na yun (desalination), ‘yun pwede natin gawin,” he added.