Press Release
October 18, 2011


The country's highly fragmented institutional setup and weak regulatory framework continue to aggravate water quality and services, especially in the provinces.

In this light, Senator Edgardo J. Angara filed Senate Bill No. 2997 or the Water Sector Reform Act (WSRA) of 2011 to establish a framework for the efficient management of the country's water resources.

"We have over 30 government agencies involved in water and sanitation. We have seen over the past 30 years that such fragmented model is not enough--and is even inefficient. It has given rise to a monopoly of water services with no incentive to provide quality service," lamented Angara.

"Water is a human right, and it is also an economic good," he explained. "We have to strike a careful balance between both. This bill seeks to realign policies in order to ensure quality and consistent water service for all Filipinos."

The measure adopts and institutionalizes the Integrated Water Resources Management approach, with a focus on reforming the water supply and sanitation industry, as well as other uses of water such as use for municipal, irrigation, agriculture, fisheries, power generation, industrial, livestock, recreational, and even flood management.

It seeks to organize the country into Provincial Water Resource Zones within which Water Service Providers will operate, integrating and synergizing the water industry to make it more efficient and cost-effective.

The proposed measure will also strengthen and make the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) the lead agency in water resource and industry management.

Furthermore, it will encourage Public-Private Partnerships (PPP's) in water and sanitation services to help secure uninterrupted, adequate, quality and dependable water supply for everyone. An incentive scheme is provided to encourage more investors to participate in further developing the Philippines' water industry.

The Water Sector Reform Act complements the Water Regulatory Act (SBN 2641) filed by Angara earlier this year. This measure will rationalize the economic regulation of water utilities through an independent, quasi-judicial body called the Water Regulation Commission.

"The State assumes the burden of ensuring that the water in our lakes and rivers reaches our faucets. In order to do this, we must reform the water industry itself, not just introduce another layer of regulation," Angara emphasized. (30)

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