2023 April 27
MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Thursday signed an executive order creating the Water Resources Management Office (WRMO) in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to integrate and harmonize government efforts to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water resources in the country.
Under Executive Order No. 22, the WRMO is mandated to “ensure the immediate implementation of the Integrated Water Resources Management in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and formulate a corresponding Water Resources Master Plan (IWMP).”
The EO was created to address the challenges that affect the management of water resources management in the country, particularly with the increasing demand for water due to population and economic growth, impacts of climate change and the pandemic, and the lack of adequate infrastructure leading to uneven distribution of water resources, among others.
“To avert water crisis, minimize and avoid conflicts, and consistent with the State’s sole ownership and control over the country’s water resources, it is imperative for the Government to integrate and harmonize the policies, programs, and projects of all relevant agencies in the water resource sector in the fulfillment of their complementary governmental mandates,” the EO read.
The WRMO is tasked to “shepherd and champion, together with the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office, the passage of a law creating an apex body such as the proposed Department of Water and/or a regulatory commission on water.”
It is also directed to integrate into the IWMP the various plans of agencies, which include the Philippine Development Plan, the Philippine Water Supply and Sanitation Master Plan, and the National Water Resources Board Security Master Plan.
The WRMO is further tasked to “generate and maintain credible and timely water and sanitation data to aid in evidence-based policy-making, regulations, planning, and implementation.”
The WRMO will be headed by an Undersecretary to be appointed by the President upon the recommendation of the DENR secretary.