Read more →
BACOLOD City – Stakeholders from varioussectors of this province converged for a two-day summit to discuss the pressingissues of water security and also proposed solutions to provide potable andaffordable water for the Negrenses. Benitez said the government authorities,private sector and civil society must work together to institute criticalreforms and investments that would build adequate water infrastructure andensure social and environmental protection for generations to come.(With a report from PNA/PN) “An integrated approach to waterresource management or strong collaboration is key to rational development andthe management of water, land, and related resources to maximize economicbenefit and also to ensure social welfare and ecological balance for thelong-term,” he added. “Negros Occidental is a witness to thesetrends. The province is rapidly urbanizing. In 2015, 61 percent of the 2.5million population lived in urban areas and water infrastructure has beenunable to meet the growing demand,” Benitez said. In 2018, only 37.2 percent of householdsin the province have Level 3 water supply. That means having an extensivedistribution network of piped water connecting individual households. The Negros Water Summit, held at theNegros Residences, was organized by the Office of 3rd District Rep. JoseFrancisco Benitez, the summit director, to tackle four key themes – watersupply and quality, sanitation and sewerage, sustainability, and watergovernance. “High NRW levels prevent water utilitiesfrom recovering their investments and generating income that should be used toimprove infrastructure and expand service delivery. We do need to get our actstogether to promote water efficiency and conservation,” Benitez said. All 17 operational water districts inNegros Occidental reported 26.81 percent of non-revenue water (NRW) or lossesfrom leaks or pilferage. Although there is no short supply ofinnovative technologies that ensure a sufficient sourceof safe drinking water,he said that the stakeholders should explore alternative water resources andutilize water treatment technologies in order to address water scarcity and tohelp the cycle of water. “The degradation of water supply, thedepletion, and contamination of aquifers, the pollution of surface watersources, the denudation of forests and watersheds threaten our supply of safedrinking water,” he added. “We must come together to findsustainable solutions. Our next generation and our current development demandit,” said Benitez in his opening message. He also cited trends that disrupt accessto the water cycle, pose risks to water scarcity, lead to water stress, slowdown groundwater recharge, and reduced surface water flow, among others. Focusing on the challenges of watersecurity, the summit director said there is an increasing demand for suchvaluable resource at unprecedented levels due to population growth anddevelopment, which put water sources under threat.