PG-ENRO Holds Cavite Water Summit 2017

The Cavite Water Summit 2017 participants pose for a group photo at Summit Ridge Hotel, Tagaytay City on 9 November 2017.

On 9-10 November 2017, the Provincial Government-Environment and Natural Resources Office (PG-ENRO), in collaboration with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau-CALABARZON (DENR-EMB-CALABARZON) and the Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) gathered environmental managers, water resources management experts, non-governmental organizations, private sector representatives, the academe and other stakeholders in the occasion of the Cavite Water Summit 2017 to discuss water management issues and promote the sustainable management of water in the province.

Cavite Governor Jesus Crispin Remulla delivered the Welcome Remarks during the opening ceremony while the objectives of the Water Summit were presented by Ms. Anabelle Cayabyab, Supervising Environmental Management Specialist and Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) Division Head of PG-ENRO.

The Water Summit also served as a venue for the launching of the State of the Coasts (SOC) Report of the Province of Cavite. The SOC is a reporting system that measures the progress, achievements and impacts of the implementation of the ICM program based on 35 core indicators, covering management interventions and implementing mechanisms for the sustainable development of the province’s coastal and marine areas. Ms. Cayabyab presented a brief report on the content of the SOC Report. Her presentation was followed by a keynote message from Dr. Christopher Cox, Program Officer from the United Nations Environment Programme/Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (UNEP/GPA).

From left to right: Mr. Stephen Adrian Ross (PEMSEA Executive Director and Chief Technical Officer), Cavite Governor Jesus Crispin Remulla, Dr. Christopher Cox (Program Officer of the United Nations Environment Programme Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities), Engr. Jorge Estiko (NWRB Deputy Executive Director) and Dr. Hernando Robles (Cavite State University President) holding their copies of the State of the Coasts (SOC) Report of the Province of Cavite.

The biennial event was initially launched in August 2015 to increase public awareness on the impending water crisis in Cavite. This was based on the Cavite Integrated Water Resources Management Plan (2012) which projected that the province may suffer water deficiency of about 51 million liters per day in 2020 if no mitigating measures will be undertaken. Water abstraction reaching critical points was also pointed out as the major cause of decreased groundwater levels, resulting in groundwater mining and saltwater intrusion in coastal areas.

A ceremonial signing of the “Cavite Declaration on Water Management to Achieve Sustainable Water Supply and Sanitation” was also held during the Water Summit. The agreement was a declaration of the commitment of the different stakeholders to implement strategies, actions and responses in protecting vulnerable water resources and ensuring sustainable water supply in the province.

Mr. Stephen Adrian Ross (PEMSEA Executive Director and Chief Technical Officer), Cavite Governor Jesus Crispin Remulla, Engr. Jorge Estiko (NWRB Deputy Executive Director and Representative of DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu) and Dr. Hernando Robles (Cavite State University President) sign the Cavite Water Declaration.

The Water Summit, with the theme “Water Security for All: Pathways, Innovations and Outcomes” was divided into 3 sessions: (1) Cavite Water Resources at a Glance, (2) Pathways for Institutionalized Multi-stakeholder Participation and (3) The Way Forward: Plans, Infrastructures and Innovations. Engr. Arnel Taruc, Provincial Government’s Consultant on Water Resources Management discussed the concept of water demand management. Professor Noel Sedigo, Chair of the Department of Forestry and Environmental Science in Cavite State University-Indang presented CvSU’s watershed management projects featuring the province’s river watersheds. Engr. Wilfredo Billones, Focal Person for the Manila Bay, DENR-EMB-CALABARZON presented the Cavite Water Quality Report 2017, highlighting the very high level of total and fecal coliform in Cavite waterbodies. Engr. Luis Rongavilla, Head, Policy Formulation Section, Program and Policy Division, National Water Resources Board (NWRB) discussed the roles, functions and mandates of the NWRB in the promotion of integrated water resources management (IWRM) and in ensuring the optimum utilization, exploitation, conservation, protection and development of the country’s water resources. Engr. Arlene Diaz from the Water Rights Division of the NWRB presented the requirements, process, as well as the corresponding fees and charges for issuing water permits.

The role of the youth as water resources advocates was emphasized by Professor Sherwin Joseph Felicidario (College of Development Communication, University of the Philippines Los Baños) in his presentation entitled “Youth Involvement in Development Projects.” He mentioned the various projects and involvements of UPLB DevCom students, including the National Greening Program with the DENR, “Ubokabularyo” Campaign with USAID and DOH, “Pumapel Ka” Campaign with UPLB DevCom MS Class and Local Government of Los Baños, Laguna, and student-led initiatives such as pagSIBOL and Aetaguyod. Each session was ended by a panel discussion. An interactive workshop involving the youth and the representatives from the academe, private companies, national government agencies and local government units was likewise held.

The second day of the Water Summit focused on the discussion of the Cavite Development Strategy as well as the proposed water management technologies and innovations to help achieve water security. Engr. Jesus Barrera, Provincial Planning and Development Coordinator presented the Provincial Government’s vision and mission as well as the alignment of the Provincial Development and Physical Framework Plan (PDPFP) with the Philippine Development Plan and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. He mentioned the development thrusts of Governor Remulla, as well as the province’s major priority development projects.

The history, operations and best practices of the Baliwag Water District-Septage Treatment Plant were presented by Engr. Ma. Victoria Signo, Division Manager of the Sewerage and Sanitation Division, Baliwag Water District while the proposed plans and programs of the Provincial Government of Cavite to achieve secured water supply and sanitation were discussed by Ms. Anabelle Cayabyab. These include the establishment of a Provincial Water Testing Laboratory in a 500-square meter lot within the Cavite State University-Indang campus as well as the establishment of septage and wastewater treatment facilities in Naic and Trece Martires City. Mr. Jeurgen Lorenz from JL Business and Technology Consultancy, Inc. discussed the concept of Integrated River Basin Management in his presentation entitled “Reducing Pollution and Preserving Environmental Flows in the East Asian Seas through the Implementation of Integrated River Basin Management in ASEAN Countries.” The outputs of the workshop held during the first day were also presented by participants who were divided into groups. DENR-EMB-CALABARZON Regional Director Noemi Paranada delivered the Closing Remarks, which marked the end of the two-day affair.

The participants gather and discuss feasible solutions (policies, infrastructure and convergence programs) to address water management issues in the province during their workshop.