March 4, 2024

The newly created Water Resources Management Office (WRMO) will hold a forum on Nov. 22 to announce the first 100 priority projects on water security that will be ready for investment by next year.

WRMO Usec. Carlos Primo David in a recent conference said they are looking for investors and partners for these key projects to be located throughout the Philippines.

He said meetings are being regularly held with several other agencies with water-related

functions on the 100 projects that will be offered for private sector investment by 2024.

David, speaking at an investment forum on water security, said these projects are centered on a key policy the office signed recently with the National Irrigation Administration and the National Water Resources Board (NWRB). 

Under this policy, water resources previously dedicated as irrigation water will be converted into multipurpose-use water, he said.

“There are only certain portions of the cropping cycle where they [farmers] need water from irrigation. And yet all that water, that supply, is locked up for the whole year. Every time that you see a dam that has overflowing or spilling water that is water that is left unused,” David said.

With this policy, any excess water, especially during the rainy season, will now be used for multiple purposes, including for bulkwater supply, potable water supply, hydropower, aquaculture, and ecotourism, among others.

Other projects to be announced next month include 106 priority dams for multipurpose use such as Colo Dam in Bataan, Bustos Dam in Bulacan, Porac and Solib Dams in Pampanga, Alawihao Dam in Camarines Norte, Can-asujan Dam in Cebu, and Bago Dam in Negros Occidental.

The memorandum of agreement between WRMO, NIA and NWRB was signed on Oct. 4 with the goal of repurposing NIA’s water rights to further promote water security in the Philippines, according to a presidential release.

Aside from the NIA dams, the WRMO is also looking at water development projects in the 114 protected areas in the country including water reservoirs and national parks, David said.

Some of these protected areas for possible investment include the Pasonanca water reservation in Zamboanga and Camp 8 water reservoir in Baguio City, he added.

The WRMO was created as an agency of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources through Executive Order 22 signed by President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. on April 27. It is tasked to integrate and harmonize all government programs that seek to guarantee the availability and sustainable management of water resources in the country.

Under the order, WRMO is mandated to “ensure the immediate implementation of the Integrated Water Resources Management, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and formulate a corresponding Integrated Water Resources Master Plan.” – Press release