The United States government is now working with water service providers and the provincial government of Leyte to improve service delivery and build climate change resilience.
Under its Water Security for Resilient Ecoaqnomic Growth and Stability Project (Be Secure), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) hosted a three-day conference attended by 180 participants from Leyte – including water district personnel and small-scale water service providers.
USAID, during the conference, highlighted the urgency for water service providers (WSPs) to take action on climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.
Be Secure Project aims to increase access to sustainable water supply and wastewater treatment services and strengthen climate resilience in six focal areas including Leyte Province. It will also help address challenges that WSPs face during natural disasters.
To recall, Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan), one of the strongest typhoons ever recorded in history, caused massive devastation to Leyte Province including to its water systems and other infrastructure. The typhoon’s damage to infrastructure and agriculture was estimated at over P35.5 billion.
“Recent strong typhoons like Yolanda, Sendong and Ondoy highlight the vulnerability of the water sector to the impact of natural disasters,” said USAID Be Secure’s Climate Resiliency Team Leader Bebet Gozun.
“We continue to encourage government and private sector partners to take urgent adaptation measures to reduce vulnerability and build resiliency to ensure sustainable water supply,” Gozun added.
Be Secure Project in the Philippines is a four-year activity that seeks to improve water security to support resilient and stable economic growth. It is implemented in six focal areas: Iloilo City (Iloilo), Cagayan de Oro City (Misamis Oriental), Tuguegarao City (Cagayan), Isabela City (Basilan), Cotabato City (Maguindanao), and Tacloban City (Leyte).
At the national level, activities focus on water sector regulatory reform. For regional and local activities, the project works with local government units as lead implementing agencies with a focus on the watershed and river basin scale.
Key counterparts include national government agencies, local government units, and service providers (public and private). Be Secure also works in partnership with academic institutions as centers of excellence that can sustain project initiatives.