Philippine President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has urged both the private and public sectors to accelerate the completion of all water projects in the Philippines, emphasising the importance of enhancing water security and mitigating potential water scarcity across the nation.

During his address at the inauguration of the Davao City Bulk Water Supply Project in Davao City, President Marcos highlighted the project as a tangible solution to address water scarcity. He emphasised the collaborative approach between the local government and private entities in combating this issue.

The Davao City Bulk Water Supply Project, operated by Apo Agua Infrastructura in partnership with the Davao City Water District (DCWD), stands as one of the Philippines‘ largest private bulk water supply facilities. Situated along the Tamugan River, its primary objective is to reduce Davao City’s reliance on groundwater resources.

President Marcos underscored the significance of collaboration between the public and private sectors in safeguarding the Panigan-Tamugan Watershed, as well as in managing and rehabilitating the watershed. He emphasized that this partnership exemplifies how development can be achieved without jeopardising the environment.

He said: “Thank you for showing us the deep well of potential that public-private partnerships hold, not just in securing water supply, but also in paving the way for enhanced economic growth, jobs creation, and an improved standards of living for all Filipinos.

“What this demonstrates is a proven approach in battling water scarcity, which is no longer a seasonal challenge but a perpetual threat that comes with climate change. It is for this reason that I continually stress the urgency of improving water security, and directed agencies concerned to expedite the completion of all water projects across the country.”

The chief executive highlighted the critical nature of water security, emphasizing that any interruption in water supply diminishes quality of life, hampers economic activities, and has the potential to instigate disorder.

He emphasized that while water scarcity presents a formidable challenge, it can be mitigated through foresight, proper planning, collective action, and political determination.

Previously, President Marcos issued directives to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), in collaboration with multiple government agencies, to give precedence to and hasten the completion of water supply projects in regions anticipated to face significant impacts from the El Niño phenomenon.

Additionally, President Marcos mandated the DPWH and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to investigate opportunities for public-private partnerships aimed at revitalising and enhancing the nation’s water supply infrastructure.

Furthermore, the DPWH received instructions to construct large-scale water impounding projects to expand coverage to additional areas in need of service.