THE onslaught of a pandemic posed daunting hurdles to meeting the water demand of the Filipinos but thankfully, water districts across the country lived up to the challenge and didn’t fail the millions of households in need of a steady water supply.
Citing the “resilience” of more than five hundred water districts nationwide, Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) Acting Administrator Jeci A. Lapus congratulated the Philippine Association of Water Districts (PAWD) in his virtual opening message during the 42nd annual convention held recently.
“Ang sabi ng DOH, ang unang panlaban sa pandemya ay tubig. Kaya napakaganda na tayo ay isa sa mga instrumento para hindi kumalat ang pandemya,” Lapus said.
The LWUA chief acknowledged that the job has been made more difficult by the viral plague, which had adversely affected the income of water districts after the lockdowns on industrial and commercial establishments.
Lapus said, “Embracing the new norm in water supply and sanitation is difficult. Karamihan sa ating mga water districts ay talagang naghirap. Yung iba naman, humingi ng debt relief na atin namang binigyan ng approval.”
Aside from this, Lapus said that water expansion projects were under way through the assistance of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). He clarified, though, that these were earmarked for big water districts.
The engineer and former lawmaker also said that water transportation projects are also being mapped out.
“Nakikipag-ugnayan ako sa Kongreso at DBM kung paano tayo makakakuha ng mga water trucks, portable water treatment facilities na pwede nating ilagay sa mga strategic na lugar na kapag may problema tayo, ito agad ang sasagip sapangangailangan sa tubig.”
Lapus admitted that there is still a lot to do before reaching the target water coverage across the country — noting that more than four hundred water districts have a 50% and below service coverage.
“So mahaba pa ang ating lalakbayin at pagkatapos ngpandemyang ito, siguradong punong-puno ang ating mesa ng mga konsepto kung paano natin maaayos ang ating kalagayan sa tubig,” he said.
But with the support of PAWD members, Lapus said he can rest assured that the water supply of the country would always be steady and reliable.