The National Economic and Development Authority said the Philippines needs to invest at least a trillion pesos over the next nine years to ensure Filipinos have access to clean and reliable water supply.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said on Thursday, Sept. 16, that the country’s water supply and sanitation (WSS) sector needs a total investment of around P1.1 trillion until 2030.
During the virtual launch of the Philippine Water Supply and Sanitation Master Plan (PSWSSMP), Chua highlighted the need for effective water institutions and strong regulatory environment to address the future increase in water consumption and bridge the gaps in sanitation services.
Chua also said integrated interventions from the local and national government, and stakeholders are crucial to achieve the goal of providing universal access to safe and sustainable water and sanitation to Filipinos by 2030.
“It [PSWSSMP] aims to not only provide safe water supply and sanitation services for all Filipinos, but also ensure that these services can withstand disasters and protect the environment,” Chua said.
To accomplish the goal, the master plan is focused on eight key reform agendas, including the establishment of effective water supply and sanitation sector institutions, and the strengthening of the country’s regulatory environment.
Moreover, PSWSSMP aims to create and ensure effective water supply and sanitation services, as well as balance water supply and demand.
In addition, the master plan intends to build climate resiliency in water supply, enable the sector’s access to financing, manage data and information to determine baseline and gaps of investments, and drive research and development in the sector.
Currently, Chua said that only 44 percent of households have individual connections to a proper, fully-reticulated waterworks system. The remaining 56 percent, or 57 million Filipinos, have to fetch water for their families from communal pipes, springs, or wells.
Such conditions put them at risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus in a time when proper hygiene is essential, Chua said. In response, the master plan creates a unifying framework for planning, implementing, and funding in the sector.
“By having clear policies and a unified framework, we look forward to more investments and participation from the private sector, the international development community, as well as local and national agencies,” Chua said.
“We also support the creation of the Department of Water Resources, which will unify our fragmented water sector and spearhead the implementation of this master plan,” he added.