Barbers seeks mandatory RCS facility on residential, commercial buildings

February 25, 2024 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 116 views

A LAWMAKER is calling for the approval of a bill mandating the installation of a rainwater collection system (RCS) in all new residential, commercial and institutional buildings, particularly in the urban or densely-populated areas.

Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said the primary objective of his House Bill (HB) No. 4837 was to promote sufficient potable water supply in times of calamities or weather disturbances like El Nino and reduce floodings in times of La Nina.

“The global extreme weather conditions apparently due to climate change prompted the idea calling for the mandatory RCS installation in all residential, commercial and institutional buildings that would be built in the future,” he said.

Barbers, chairman of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs, explained that RCS shall mean a facility designed to capture, retain and store rainwater flowing off a building, parking lot or any other man-made, impervious surface, for subsequent onsite use.

The solon said the RCS concept is not new in the country, particularly in rural areas with limited water supply, where pipes or diverters connected to big barrels are used to collect and store rainwater.

“But in urban or densely-populated areas like Metro Manila, people put little to no emphasis on rainwater collection due to the presence of service companies like Maynilad and Manila water that provide stable and abundant water supply,” he said.

But with the onset of El Nino weather disturbance, Barbers said the water levels of Angat Dam continue to evaporate due to extreme heat and may soon cause water service interruptions as there would be great demand but low supply of the precious commodity.

Under the revived HB 4837, the measure mandates the owner or developer of new residential, commercial and institutional buildings to include in its building plan an RCS; while Local Government Units (LGUs) and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) are mandated to deny construction permits of such edifices that are without an RCS design or plan.

The Department of Public Work and Highways (DPWH), through its concerned attached agencies, would be required to install RCS to all new government buildings, and shall supervise the filtration and purification process to ensure that the stored rainwater is safe for drinking.

Under the Bill, property owners who fail to comply with RCS installation would be penalized with P100,000 but not more than P500,000, for every year of non-compliance.

Any government officer or employee found to have violated the Act’s provisions would be suspended for not less than 10 days but not more than 180 days after due notice and hearing in an administrative proceeding.