MANILA, 20 MARCH 2020 – In observance of World Water Day (March 22) and World Meteorological Day (March 23), Deputy Speaker and Lone District of Antique Congresswoman Loren Legarda urged authorities, businesses, and citizens to pursue efforts that will help ensure the resilience of the country’s water resources amid the intensifying impacts of climate change.
World Water Day celebrates the importance of water, while World Meteorological Day highlights the essential contribution of meteorological and hydrological services to the safety and well-being of society. The theme for both international observances is “Climate Change and Water.”
“Water is our most valuable resource. We know how a shortage can easily disrupt our daily lives. As this climate crisis worsens, the risk for our water sources to run dry increases. These international observances urge us further to ensure that we have sufficient water for present and future generations,” said Legarda, who also authored the country’s Clean Water Act.
Legarda said that one in three or 2.2 billion people in the world live without access to safe drinking water, adding that, by 2050, up to 5.7 billion people could be living in areas where water is scarce for at least one month a year, which would create unprecedented competition for water.
For the Philippines, Legarda said that the country is projected to experience a “high” degree of water shortage by 2040 due to its rapid population growth and climate change, which will significantly impact the agriculture sector, according to the World Resources Institute.
While climate impacts and rising temperatures severely affect water quality and supply, Legarda also emphasized that water can help address the climate crisis. Among the water initiatives she mentioned include the protection and expansion of peatlands and mangrove soils, which can store more carbon than terrestrial soils; harvesting or collecting rainwater; reusing wastewater for irrigation and industrial purposes; adopting climate-smart agriculture practices; and protection and rehabilitation of watersheds through reforestation.
“To ensure water resilience is to uphold the right of all Filipinos to have adequate access to clean and safe drinking water. Especially in this time of climate crisis, let us act more urgently and decisively to protect the very resource that is giving us life,” Legarda concluded.