Provincial water management body seeks passage of water code
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Amid scarcity of water supply due to the effect of the weak El Niño, the Provincial Water Resources Authority (PWRA) hopes that the Provincial Board (PB) will prioritize the passage of the water code.
Engineer Edgar Sibonga, executive director of the PWRA, said their draft of the water code had been submitted to the office of Board Member Thadeo Jovito Ouano, who chairs the Committee on Environment, last November 2018.
“The water code addresses the need to conserve the ecosystem and the water management areas,” Sibonga said.
The water code provides for the monitoring of water extraction facilities to prevent over-pumping which leads to saltwater intrusion or the mixture and contamination of seawater to the potable groundwater.
The Water Code of the Province of Cebu, which is the first legislation with the framework patterned to the Global Water Partnership Securing Sustainable Water, sets guidelines on water sanitation, watershed management, water quality management, the resilience of water resources during water-related calamities like the El Niño and governance on water extraction.
Sibonga said that one of the challenges in water management was the policing over non-permitted water drillers because they would contribute to over-extraction.
The incident would lead to the contamination of the fresh water underground with saltwater, making the groundwater no longer potable.
Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) Head Baltazar Tribunalo, in a separate interview, said that over-extraction, which would lead to saltwater intrusion, had become one of their challenges with the looming dry season.
“Dapat i-regulate nato nga bisan asa lang nagdrilll sa source sa tubig. Karon sa Kinatarcan Island, taas kaayo og level sa pagsulod sa tubig dagat sa ilang groundwater,” said Tribunalo.
Tribunalo said that they are now looking at having a desalination facility in Kinatarcan Island to address the concern on lack of potable water due to salt water intrusion./dbs
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