By Ben Rosario
Drawing inspiration from the effective flood control facility of the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, the House Committee on Metro Manila Development has endorsed the swift enactment of a bill mandating the establishment of rainwater harvesting facility as part of new institutional, commercial and residential development projects in Metro Manila.
Chaired by Manila Rep. Manuel Luis T. Lopez, the House panel unanimously approved the consolidation and endorsement for plenary action of three separate bills entitled “Rainwater Harvesting Facility (RHF) Act.”
Aside from Lopez, principal authors of the legislative proposals were Reps. Kit Belmonte (LP, Quezon City); Allan Reyes (PDP-Laban, Quezon City) and Yul Servo Nieto (NP, Manila).
Committee approval came shortly after Jaime Francisco Galvez Jr., BGC commercial operations head, briefed lawmakers about how BGC’s storm drain facility located underneath the Padre Burgos Circle works.
The underground drainage detention structure can impound 22 million liters of water which is the equivalent to eight Olympic size swimming pools, said Galvez.
Reacting to Galvez’s briefing, Ang Probinsyano partylist Rep. Bonito Singson noted that unlike the BGC water impounding facility that throws out water to a nearby creek, the pending bills mandate building and real property developers to harvest water for future use.
Singson, a real estate developer, urged the BGC management to try to introduce new technology that would put the harvested water for utilization.
“If this is implemented properly and supervised well, I believe the rainwater harvest facility will serve as a good mitigating factor not only against flooding during the rainy season and source of water during the summer season,” noted Lopez.
The senior administration lawmaker said rainwater harvesting is also considered “environmentally friendly.”
“The said bills will require new realty developments to provide a rainwater catchment plan prior to securing a building permit from the concerned city government. Our subject bills aim to help Metro Manila in water supply and flood control,” Lopez explained.
In his proposal, Lopez wants owners or developers of new institutional commercial and residential development projects in Metro Manila to reserve, develop and maintain an RHF that will occupy space that is equivalent to three percent of the area to be developed.
The RHF for development projects with minimum total area of 1,500 square meters is a mandatory requisite for the issuance of a building permit.
For on-going real estate development, developers are given 30 years from the effectivity of the law to provide for RHF.
Under the bill, collected rainwater may be allocated for non-potable and suitable purposes such as gardening and air-cooling processes.
A fine ranging from P500,000 to P2 million will be imposed against owners and developers for non compliance to the provisions of theProposed penalties for non-compliance.