28.5 C
Cagayan de Oro
Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Stakeholders converge for National Caravan on World Water Day

The United Nations proclaimed the first World Water Day on March 22, 1993. Since then it is
celebrated every year to highlight the need to protect fresh water sources around the world.
The theme for the 2013 celebration is Water Cooperation which focuses on the need for
countries that share fresh water sources to cooperate in the management of their resources.
“In line with this year’s World Water Day theme of Water Cooperation we organized the
National Water Caravan to involve the water regions in all regions of the country,” said Local
Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) Administrator Eduardo C. Santos in his message
delivered by Engr. Edgardo C. Demayo, OIC/Sr. Deputy Administrator.
“This show of force and number is an imperative given our current position in the order of
national priorities and in view of our continuing mandate to develop potable water supply
systems in the countryside,” he added.

LWUA designated certain water districts as convergence points, one of which was the Cagayan
de Oro City Water District (COWD), said Ladele A. Sagrado, COWD public affairs manager.
The theme for the simultaneous national observance of World Water Day for 2013 was “Tubig
Para sa Lahat, Lahat Para sa Tubig.”

“The goal of this activity is to enhance awareness of all stakeholder s on the importance of water
as a finite resource which needs to be judiciously used and conserved to attain sustainability for
future generations,” said Rachel Beja, COWD general manager.

Among the water districts which converged on Cagayan de Oro for the water caravan were
Balingasag, Claveria and Gingoog City in Misamis Oriental; Wao from Lanao del Sur; Tubod,
and Baroy from Lanao del Norte; Malaybalay, Maramag, Valencia and Manolo Fortich from
Bukidnon; Mambajao from Camiguin and Cagayan de Oro City.

Present during the program led by COWD were COWD Board Chairman Ruben Vegafria, Board
Member and immediate past chairman Joel Baldelovar, COWD GM Rachel Beja, COWD AGM
Ray Tablan and Jong Batar, and Rio Verde Water Consortium Vice President for Operations
Joffrey E. Hapitan. The affair was co-hosted by the NorMin-Natural Resources Management
Council, Inc. (Normin-NRMC).


“We are happy to be part of the World Water Day convergence by helping reduce our water
footprint,” said Engr. Hapitan. “As bulk water supplier for Cagayan de Oro, we are appreciative

of our role in reducing our rising consumption of ground water by processing raw water from our
rivers through our treatment plant. In this manner, we can give our ground water sources time to
recover and recharge in consideration of the future users of this valuable resource.”

The highlight of the program was the simultaneous reading by all stakeholders present of the
Commitment for Water Cooperation and the turnover of a commemorative World Water Day
Plaque to COWD and Normin-NRMC by Engr. Demayo in behalf of LWUA.
In 2013, in celebration of the International Year of Water Cooperation, World Water Day is also
dedicated to the theme of cooperation around water.

“Cooperation must be our byword. This is essential to preserve our ecosystems, to eradicate
poverty and to advance social equity, including gender equality,” noted Irina Bokova, Director-
General of UNESCO, on the occasion of World Water Day 2013. 

The official celebration of World Water Day was hosted by the Kingdom of The Netherlands in
The Hague. A wide variety of key stakeholders from inside and outside the ‘water box’, have
been invited. The celebrations included a multi-stakeholder dialogue on 21 March, a High Level
Forum on 22 March, and several public events focusing on water cooperation as a foundation for
peace and sustainable development.

The High Level Forum aimed to raise the profile of “water cooperation” on the agendas of
policy and decision makers, water professionals and the wider public, and transmit the main
messages of the thematic consultation on water for the post-2015 development agenda to the UN
High-level Panel, with recommendations on how water cooperation can contribute to the
agenda's success.



Freshwater makes up a very small fraction of all water on the planet. While nearly 70 percent of
the world is covered by water, only 2.5 percent is fresh while the rest is saline and ocean-based.
On top of this, a mere one percent of our freshwater is easily accessible, with much of it trapped
in glaciers and snowfields. In essence, only 0.007 percent of the planet's water is available to fuel
and feed its 6.8 billion people.

Due to geography, climate, engineering, regulation, and competition for resources, some regions
seem relatively flush with freshwater, while others face drought and debilitating pollution. In
much of the developing world, clean water is either hard to come by or a commodity that
requires laborious work or significant currency to obtain.

In the last century, fresh water use has grown more than twice as fast as the population.
Water Is Life

Wherever they are, people need water to survive. Not only is the human body 60 percent water,
the resource is also essential for producing food, clothing, and computers, moving our waste
stream, and keeping us and the environment healthy.

Unfortunately, humans have proved to be inefficient water users. (The average hamburger takes
2,400 liters, or 630 gallons, of water to produce, and many water-intensive crops, such as cotton,
are grown in arid regions).

According to the United Nations, water use has grown at more than twice the rate of population
increase in the last century. By 2025, an estimated 1.8 billion people will live in areas plagued by
water scarcity, with two-thirds of the world's population living in water-stressed regions as a
result of use, growth, and climate change.

The challenge we face now is how to effectively conserve, manage, and distribute the water we
have.  To celebrate this important day, you can check out your fresh water footprint and take the
"Change the Course" pledge.

Every three years since 1997, for instance, the World Water Council has drawn thousands to
participate in its World Water Forum during the week of World Day for Water. Participating
agencies and NGOs have highlighted issues such as a billion people being without access to safe
water for drinking and the role of gender in family access to safe water.

Cooperation is essential to strike a balance between the different needs and priorities and share
this precious resource equitably. Since water cuts across all sectors, stakeholders that are not
traditionally considered to be water managers must participate. Water cooperation between
different social groups, economic sectors, regional governments, countries, and present and
future generations, is crucial not only to ensure the sustainable and equitable use of water but
also to create and maintain peaceful relations between people.

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