In a concerted effort to address sustainable water management in Davao City, the Department of Science and Technology XI, Hydrology for Environment, Life and Policy Davao Network (HELP Davao Network) and the International Center for Water Hazard and Risk Management Japan (ICHARM Japan) recently hosted a Water Summit that brought together key stakeholders from various sectors discussing the City’s water future and addressing challenges posed by climate change and urbanization.
With the theme, “Where are we now and will be in the future?”, the summit discussed the issues and challenges in relation to the water resources of Davao City and sustainable ways to address them. It also showcased the best practices of Kumamoto City, Japan for potential adoption and collaboration.
A workshop was also conducted to help key water stakeholders discuss and identify actions that the City needs to stop doing, continue doing, and start doing.
In his opening address, Hon, Mayor Sebastian Duterte through Councilor Diosdado Mahipus Jr. underscored the importance of collective action to safeguard the city’s water resources.
“By fostering an environment of collaboration, we can leverage the expertise and experiences of each participant to develop comprehensive strategies that address our challenges,” he said.
In addition, the Executive Director of ICHARM Japan, Prof. Toshio Koike also enjoined cross-sectoral decision-making in leveraging available science-driven data information systems and the importance of an end-to-end approach in climate change adaptation.
The summit’s agenda included the Water-Food-Energy nexus presented by Asec Romeo Montenegro of the Mindanao Development Authority highlighting the need to pay equal attention to the interdependencies between water, energy, food, and the climate.
The Davao City Planning and Development Office headed by Mr. Ivan Cortez also shared the existing policies in water management and discussed the anticipated Department of Water which will be responsible for the comprehensive and integrated planning, policy formulation, and management of water resources in the Philippines.
The Davao City Water District’s Spokesperson, Ms. Jovanna Duhaylungsod, bared that DCWD operates under own-generated revenues to provide the increasing water demand of the world’s largest city.
Engr. Jerry Fano of the Department of Public Works and Highways presented the Master Plan and Feasibility Study on Flood Control and Drainage in Davao City which aims to address inland flooding, coastal flooding, and riverine flooding in Davao River, Matina River, and Talomo River basins. The plan also includes identifying priority structural and non-structural measures for the Davao River.
DOST XI’s Regional Director Dr. Anthony Sales also shared that there are existing tools we can use to integrate data information for informed decisions in hydro-hazard management such as the Davao Online Synthesis System which is a platform geared towards providing data on rainfall, flood, drought, and landslide to capacitate disaster managers with informed decisions.
The Kumamoto City Mayor, Honorable Kazufumi Onishi, also shared their practices in sustainable and resilient management of water resources.
The Chairperson of the HELP Davao Network, Councilor Pilar C. Braga, closed the summit by highlighting the growing problems in water resources in Davao City and posed a challenge to the participants to take an active role in the wise management of water.
During the summit, three major issues were identified such as the problem on waste disposal that affects water quality and causes trappings of solid wastes in the Davao City waterways.
Another issue raised was the encroachment of water resources attributed mainly to non-conforming land uses. The Summit highlighted the need to continuously monitor establishments and ensure that they conform to the clearances required and the Comprehensive Land Use Plan must be strictly enforced.
The third major issue identified is the problem of agricultural wastes that run off and pollute water sources and it highlighted the need to encourage more research to be done and more green technologies to be deployed to address the issue.
The Water Summit concluded with many policy implications that would need the support of the Davao City Council including the recommendation to conduct the Davao City Water Summit annually to provide a platform for multi-stakeholder discussions and collaborative planning towards sustainable water for Davao City.
“Davao may be blessed with copious water resources. But, if we do not learn to manage water wisely given the constantly growing population, water demands, and various forms of water stresses, we may as well be depriving our future generations of access to quality and sustainable water resources,” Councilor Pilar said.