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NWRB eyes tighter tracking of Mindoro water use

MANILA, Nov. 1 — The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) has cited the need to track the use of water in Mindoro Island, saying this will help promote water security there amidst climate change and other threats to the precious liquid resource.

"Water users there must be inventoried and monitored," said Jorge Estioko, Deputy Executive Director Officer-in-Charge of the NWRB which is the government's lead agency for the Philippine water sector.

He recommended prioritizing both measures as stakeholders from the island's Oriental and Occidental Mindoro provinces earlier expressed concern that various factors are endangering water quantity and qualitythere.

Such factors include pressure from population increase,socioeconomic activities, environmental degradation and climate change, they noted.

Citing latest available NWRB data on water permits issued so far, Estioko said the volume of water allocated by the agency for use in Oriental and Occidental Mindoro is less than the safe yield or quantity of groundwater available for consumption in both provinces.

"Water must still be used responsibly, however," he said.

For Oriental and Occidental Mindoro provinces, he said the corresponding safe yield is nearly 167 and 169 million cubic meters (MCM) per year.

He said the water volume allocated by NWRB for the two provinces annually are only 7.21 and 5.99 MCM, respectively.

To help track water use in Mindoro Island, Estioko said local officials must ensure water users there secure water permits from NWRB.

NWRB grants such permits for domestic, irrigation, power,fisheries, industrial, livestock, recreational and commercial purposes.

For municipal use, NWRB also requires private water service providers to secure Certificate of Public Convenience, the agency noted.

The agency is responsible for ensuring optimum exploitation, utilization, development, conservation and protection of the country's water resource in line with integrated water resource management (IWRM) principles.

IWRM promotes coordinated development of water, land and other resources.

Available water permits so far show Mindoro Oriental's total water allocation for various purposes is about 72,055 liters per second (lps), Estioko noted.

The bulk of water allocation there is for irrigation (nearly 98 percent), followed by power (1.95 percent), municipal use (0.36 percent), fisheries (0.16 percent), commercial use (0.0003 percent) and other purposes (0.0001 percent).

Data further show Mindoro Occidental's total allocation is 50,240 lps with irrigation accounting for nearly all of the provision (99 percent).

Other water uses in that province are fisheries (0.52 percent), municipal (0.31 percent), commercial (0.004 percent) and industrial (0.0036 percent).

Last month, public and private stakeholders from both provinces held a summit in Metro Manila to discuss collectively beefing up efforts for Mindoro Island's water security.

Such stakeholders will use the summit's outputs as inputs for preparing the IWRM plan for that island. (PNA)

SCS/CJT/UTB

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