METROPOLITAN Waterworks and Sewerage System’s Administrator Reynaldo V. Velasco has empahasized the need to conserve water, develop supply sources and improve wastewater treatment to prevent the water situation from becoming worse.

Addressing the delegates at the Water Philippines 2017 conference on March 22, Velasco also lauded efforts of the Philippine Water Works Association and San Miguel Corp. on their respective advocacies for water supply development and conservation while promoting environmental protection.

Water Philippines 2017 brought together some 400 exhibitors at SMS Mall of Asia. Velasco said the three-day water conference underscores the commitment of all toward a common goal of finding water and sanitation solutions for a better future.

“The conference theme is attuned to the World Water Day celebration as it focuses on wastewater and ways to reduce and reuse as over 80 percent of all the wastewater from our homes, cities, industry and agriculture flows back to nature, polluting the environment and losing valuable nutrients and other recoverable materials,” Velasco said.

Citing the World Health Organization’s call on the need to improve the collection and treatment of wastewater, Velasco said “we need to reduce the quantity and pollution load of wastewater we produce to help protect the environment and our water resources.”

He stressed that the Duterte administration is moving heaven and earth to address these issues squarely with the aid of MWSS partners in water service, the Manila Water and Maynilad, both of which are beefing up their waste water treatment plants.

He also cited the Philippines’ largest conglomerate, San Miguel Corp., for leading the way on its own water sustainability challenge to reduce usage and educate employees, business partners and communities about water stewardship.

“It is laudable that among its future goals would be to reduce its operational water use by 50 percent across its businesses, employing measures that include water recycling, conservation and rainwater harvesting to meet its target by 2025,” said Velasco.

On PWWA which is the umbrella national organization of the country’s water supply industry and the main organizer of Water Philippines along with Asean Business, UBM Asia, Velasco lauded the collective efforts of the general membership now led by PWWA president Eulogio Agatep II “for unifying the water industry in the last four decades to bring the desired needs of the large segment of Filipino people for potable, safe and adequate water and improvement of water services.”

Among the laudable programs and projects of PWWA include: the Standardization of Waterworks Materials that resulted as benchmark and quality measures for approval to the proper government authorities; personnel training on water utilities; appreciation seminars, training and conferences on water supply development; publication of Benchmarking Data Book of Water Utilities in the Philippines sponsored studies to improve the rural water systems of the country, in line with absorbing lessons from successful projects of First World countries; study grants to deserving students who would like to advance their studies in the field of water supply engineering; the organization of Philippine Young Water Professionals all over the country in conjunction with the International Water Association; as primemover of being in the forefront of pushing for Water Safety in the Philippines with World Health Organization and Department of Health, an area of which MWSS and the concessionaires can be of great partnership especially in Metro Manila; among others.

Velasco challenged the PWWA board to put up a research and study center on water supply development.

“Our programs should reflect PWWA’s strategy of strengthening and promoting local institutions for the efficient administration of sanitation systems and water supply around the country,” Velasco said.

He added that the proposed research and study center intends to bring together PWWA, MWSS, LWUA, PWAD and other specialists belonging to various sectors in the water supply industry to work together, to best serve the water industry and to contribute to the water development in our country.