The Philippine water sector is much larger and more complex than often portrayed. It has been observed that the national policy debate surrounding water has, over the years, revolved mainly around the municipal water supply and sanitation/sewerage (WSS) sub-sector. This dominant position of the WSS sub-sector in Philippine water policy is easy to explain. It deals with water as a basic necessity of life – globally accepted as a basic human right – and has received legitimacy through its inclusion among the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the Medium-Term Philippine Development Goals of the country.
However, the Water Sector is much larger than the WSS sub-sector. As such, it is important to first broaden the discussion and raise it to a more strategic level that will allow us to appreciate the interconnectedness of the sector as a whole and how issues across that various uses of water (agriculture, industry, household, recreation, transportation, power generation, and environment) are interrelated. This interconnectedness highlights the demand for more integrated solutions rather than the piecemeal fixes we see today.
In the face of accelerated climate change and the increasing pressure on existing water supplies to support the continuously growing needs of modern society, water security has become a major policy objective both locally and globally. To get to being water secure, much needs to be done in terms of governance, institutional arrangements, and infrastructure – both hard and soft – and this policy paper seeks to be able to extract fundamental issues besetting the sector today in hope of offering clear, actionable, and measurable interventions that will get the country moving towards water security for generations to come.
To this end, this policy brief shall provide a general situationer and analysis of the current state of the water sector in the country today, drawing upon a mixture of secondary desktop research and inputs gathered from a roundtable discussion organized by The ArangkadaPhilippines Project. From this context, the hope is to be able to lay down a list of policy recommendations, which the government can pursue over the short-, medium-, and long-term to ensure the country is moving towards increased water security.
Find the full report here.