The Cebu Provincial Inter-Local Government Unit Waterworks System is set to operate soon as the Provincial Board (PB) approved on second and final reading the resolution for its creation Monday, February 15.
According to 6th District PB Member Glenn Anthony Soco, author of the resolution, the waterworks system will start operations as soon as the Technical Working Group (TWG) finalizes the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).
“The Sangguniang Panlalawigan Secretary is set to have the details published, after which the waterworks system will be made operational given the time period that the IRR will be finalized by the TWG. As far as the Provincial Board is concerned, aprubado na siya,” Soco, chairperson of the Committee on Commerce and Trade, said.
The Provincial Government, through its Economic Enterprise Council (EEC), created the Cebu Provincial Inter-LGU Waterworks System. It will operate and manage an inter-municipal water system and office under the Provincial Governor’s Office.
Smart water meters will be used in the inter-LGU waterworks system so readings can be done remotely and with accurate data. This eliminates manual readings and estimated bills.
Smart meters also ensure immediate information on leaking and water wastage.
Province Water Code
Meanwhile, the recent approval of the Water Code of Cebu Province empowers Capitol to manage its own water resources and ensure water security for the Cebuanos.
According to 3rd District PB Member John Ismael “Jimbo” Borgonia, chairperson of the Committee on Environment Conservation and Natural Resources, the Water Code’s approval on third and final reading last February 1 provides the comprehensive framework for inclusive, sustainable, and equitable distribution and utilization of water resources in the province.
It took three years for the Water Code to be approved after its draft was completed in December 2018.
“More on general [aspect] ni nga ordinance – more on appropriation, utilization, conservation, protection, distribution sa water resources. So basically, mura ni siya og policy lang ba sa pag-amuma o paggalam sa atong water sources,” Borgonia explained.
“Wala ta’y naligsan ani nga bisan kinsa o bisan unsa nga ahensya sa gobyerno ug stakeholders, ang mga water supplier ug mga tig-gamitan. Naghatag lang ni siya og significance sa atong tubig, kon unsaon paggamit o pag-develop,” he added.
The Water Code holistically considers “water-related issues from water resources management, water reuse and reclamation, sanitation, water supply systems, climate change and water-related disasters, drought and flood control,” a synopsis of the draft read.
During the PB session last February 1, Borgonia assured that the Water Code of Cebu Province will not be in conflict with or contradict the National Water Code, the Clean Water Act or the mandates and functions of the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) and other agencies with water-related responsibilities.
“It does not duplicate nor supplant the functions of these agencies such as the issuing of water rights, permits and clearances. Instead it supplements, enhances and supports the implementation of these higher-level policies by their respective national government agencies such as sharing the responsibility of monitoring for compliance of permit requirements,” he explained.
He further pointed out that the Water Code will empower the Philippine Water Resources Authority (PWRA) to generally oversee the administration and enforcement of its provisions.
It will also support the establishment of municipal and barangay-level water resources management councils, and cooperative undertakings with agencies both public and private institutions.
Borgonia also said that with the approval of the Water Code of Cebu Province, the Cebu Provincial Government has given due consideration and attention to an important resource: water.
“One that could make or break our Province’s economic growth and development, and could threaten our communities’ existence, the welfare and well-being of the Cebuanos, if not managed well,” he said.
The Water Code of the Province started when the Provincial Legislative Council passed Ordinance No. 2006-12 also known as the “Provincial Water Resources Authority Ordinance” approved by Governor Garcia on November 30, 2006; and with Executive Order 7B-Series of 2016 issued by then Governor Hilario Davide III.
Ordinance 2006-12 tasked the PWRA to “adopt and establish rules governing the appropriation, utilization, conservation, protection and distribution of water resources in the Province.”
Meanwhile, EO 7B-2016 tasked the TWG to draft the Water Code for Cebu Province with its IRR. The TWG is comprised of representatives from both government and private institutions which represented important stakeholders in the water sector. (Eleanor Valeros)