Ilocos Norte devises plans vs looming water crisis

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ILOCOS NORTE: Faced with a looming water crisis, the provincial government here organized recently the first Provincial Water Summit in collaboration with the Ilocos Norte Water District (INWD) and various stakeholders.

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The provincial government organized the summit on November 27 at the Laoag City Auditorium in response to the concerns raised by Gov. Imee Marcos of Ilocos Norte in her state of the province address on August 20.

Marcos urged the province’s leaders to come up with plans on how to better manage their water resources.

She warned that a water crisis would gravely affect local farmers tending the rich agricultural lands of the province.

However, the governor said, “If we can manage our water resources, we will surely be the best little province in the country.”

Engineer John Teodoro, general manager of the INWD, meanwhile, said that policy makers, farmers, students, and members of the academe, among others, attended the summit.

“We have discussed steps on reaching effective provincial water management and to conduct [workshops]on how to avoid the looming water crisis in the province,” Teodoro said.

He explained, “Ilocos Norte, as we all know, is abundant with water resources but we need to [develop a plan]on how to properly manage them so that our province can effectively adapt to the challenges of climate change.”

The engineer also noted that one of the most important topics discussed during the summit was solid waste management.

He maintained, “We are all contributors of solid waste in the environment.”

“Most of us do not have the discipline to properly dispose our solid waste, thus harming our water resources like rivers… Without proper solid waste management, [developing an]effective water management system in the province will be harder,” Teodoro added.

He also said that aside from raising public awareness regarding the water crisis, the summit participants also came up with a “workable, comprehensive provincial water management plan.”

“Governor Imee [Marcos] wants us to have an output after the summit, thus, a viable solution to [a]prevent water crisis is [urgent],” the engineer related.

Meanwhile, Willi Sib-at, Water Summit coordinator of the Sirib Youth Office (SYO), said that the water summit also aimed to encourage the youth to participate in the conservation and protection of watersheds and water resources in the province.

“The youth’s participation is vital since we will be directly affected in the future in case [a]water shortage will not be prevented as early as now,” Sib-at said.

Administrator Florencio Padernal of the National Irrigation Administration attended the said summit, joined by speakers from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Mariano Marcos State University, and Philippine Rice Research Institute who talked about watershed development and management, rainwater harvesting, alternate wet and dry method, and solid waste management.

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