The management of water resources is indeed a challenging task noting its indispensable role in almost all human activities. As such, various laws have been enacted, and regulations and executive issuances promulgated by the government over the past few decades to provide a governing framework for these activities and mandate various departments and agencies with specific powers and functions on water. However, the sheer number of agencies presently involved has resulted in institutional fragmentation in water resources management over the years.
Recognizing this, the 2017-2022 Philippine Development Plan underscored the importance of effecting institutional reforms on water most notably the creation of an apex body for water as a solution to the fragmented management of the country’s water resources. This reform proposal is also seen to fast-track the country’s progress in attaining the targets set under the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
In the 18th Congress, there are over thirty (30) major bills on water filed in the 18th Congress seeking to introduce sweeping reforms in the country’s water sector and covering policy areas mostly on the creation of a Department of Water. There are also several bills on the establishment of a separate regulatory body, establishment of a framework similar to EPIRA for the power sector, and a single bill on amending the 43-year old Water Code.
This paper surfaces the current institutional set-up and legal mechanisms governing the management of the country’s water sector. It also briefly discusses governance models in water resources management particularly the concept of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). Various country cases and experiences are also presented. Finally, the paper identifies considerations for legislation that can hopefully address institutional weaknesses and improve the overall management of the country’s water sector.>>read complete document