ECCP sounds alarm: Key Philippine cities at risk from severe water shortage

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Metro Manila and other key cities in the Philippines are in danger of experiencing drought in water supply in a decade’s time unless immediate measures in improving water security are put in place, the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) said.

“Metro Manila along with several key cities in the country including Angeles, Baguio, Cebu, and Davao will most likely experience severe water shortage by 2025.  What we are experiencing right now are telling signs that point in that direction,” ECCP vice president Henry Schumacher said.

To avert the water crisis, Schumacher said there is need for the government, private sector, and water stakeholders to meet and come up with solutions as the country at present experiences El Nino and with water levels dropping to critical levels.

The ECCP, for its part, intends to push hard for the creation of a super agency that will be responsible for all water-related matters in the country.

 “We need to come out with ways where everyone will 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” he said.

For Schumacher, ensuring there is enough water supply for the agriculture sector and drinking water remains readily available should be two of the top priorities.

He said the agriculture sector accounts for up to 85 percent usage of fresh water in the country annually, with the rest divided among the other industries and household consumption.

“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, will have no water supply if water resources are not managed properly,” he said.

With the abundance of freshwater supply like dams, lakes, rivers and streams in the Philippines,  Schumacher said it is unacceptable for the country to be experiencing water crisis.

“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,” he said.

Schumacher likewise added the need to push for increased investments in tapping fresh water sources and the use of technology including sewerage treatment and desalination.

According to ECCP, the Philippines is the second Southeast Asian country to sound the alarm on scarcity of water supply after Thailand did last month.

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