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Cebu News

Body sought to address city’s water concerns

Kristine B. Quintas/BRP - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines – Two Cebu City Councilors are lobbying for the creation of a Water Resources Authority (WRA) to oversee the city’s water resources.

The WRA, which is being proposed by councilors Noel Eleuterio Wenceslao and Ma. Nida Cabrera, is seen to help effectively conserve and equitably utilize its water resources for the benefit of constituents.

“In order to achieve an orderly and strategic management of city’s water resources, and to meet not only the present but future water needs as well, there is a need to establish a body that shall look into the status of the city’s water,” the authors said.

The councilors said the city needs the WRA to preserve and maximize water resources since these are gradually “dwindling.”

“The preservation and maximization of water resources could be more effective, if it is decentralized and enable each locality to have an advisory body that has actual and personal knowledge of the status of its own water resources and supply… As such, all efforts must be exerted to preserve and maximize whatever remaining water resources, particularly those efforts that will promote transparency, accountability, good stewardship, efficient and sustainable management, and effective yet cost efficient distribution of potable water to the city,” the councilors said.

The water authority is also tasked to process, endorse or oppose applications for water rights as a designated agent of the National Water Resource Board, consistent with the comprehensive Metro Cebu Water District to be adopted by said water resources authority and with the Water Code of the Philippines.

Its task is also to harmonize with the provisions of the Clean Water Act and other water-related activities and undertakings by both the government and private sector of the city, adopting and implementing plans for protection, conservation and rehabi-litation of watersheds.

The ordinance shall also cover the appropriation, utilization, exploitation and distribution of water for any purpose either for residential, commercial or industrial for the supply of water in bulk or otherwise traversing or crossing all barangays of the city.

It will also include appropriation of water for purely domestic purposes like in irrigation, fisheries, livestock raising, recreational and other similar activities.

The body will also be tasked to assist and aid all barangays in the establishments, development and operation of barangay water system. At the first stage, it would need half a million for the initial expenses and enforcement of this ordinance and its budget of operation shall be included in the annual budget of the city or shall be sourced by any.

The leadership of the WRA shall be composed of the mayor who will act as the chairman, the chairman on utilities, chairman of the committee on environment, chairman on urban planning and development, Department of Engineering and Public Works office chief, president of the Association of Barangay Councils, City Legal Officer, City Health Officer and office head of the city Environment and Natural Resources, representative from a non-government organization or people’s organization, and a representative from the Association of Local Water Utilities.

The mayor will be authorized to provide reasonable allowances or honoraria to members subject to the rules and regulations of the Commission on Audit.

The non-submission of water application to the provincial water resources authority and violations by any person of the provisions of the said ordinance shall be penalized by imprisonment not exceeding six months or a fine of P5,000 or both at the court’s discretion.

And in the case of corporations, partnerships and other judicial persons, the president, general manager, chief executive officer or appropriate offi-cer shall be held liable. — (FREEMAN)

ASSOCIATION OF BARANGAY COUNCILS ASSOCIATION OF LOCAL WATER UTILITIES CITY CITY HEALTH OFFICER CITY LEGAL OFFICER CLEAN WATER ACT DEPARTMENT OF ENGINEERING AND PUBLIC WORKS ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES RESOURCES WATER
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