Marcos: Fix water crisis with grassroots-level solutions, best practices of other countries

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 22) — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said the country must now look for ways to solve what he called a water crisis, adding water management projects should go beyond flood control to include irrigation and access to potable water.

Marcos spoke at the Water Philippines Conference and Exposition on Thursday, where he called for urgent steps to achieve water security and access to safe, adequate and affordable drinking water for Filipinos.

He said the solutions needed to address the country's water problems are within reach, but the Philippines must also learn from other nations on how to tackle similar issues.

"I have been to many desert countries where I see the excellent water management," he shared. "I'd spent some time in Israel and I saw how they treat the water because water is very scarce. They live in the desert. Nevertheless, they are able to collect the water during the rainy season."

"These are the kinds of thinking that we have to apply to the Philippines because of the crisis that we are facing and how debilitating it will be to the entire economy, to the entire society if our water supply problem continues to get greater," Marcos explained.

The President also said solutions to the water crisis must be brought to other areas, not just urban centers, and water management should be expanded beyond flood control.

"We take the water and we use it for irrigation, we use it for drinking water if we have a treatment plant," he pointed out. "We also take the water and hopefully if there is enough of a gradient that we are able to produce some power with the mini hydros."

"And so these are the kinds of stratagems that we have to employ, that we have to bring down to the grassroots level because of the water crisis in the Philippines," he added.

Marcos also said addressing these issues directly impacts the country's food supply.

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"We all know the Philippines is not a dry place," he said. "And why do we not have enough water? So we have to employ these technologies and make a cohesive policy and make a cohesive plan for not only NCR, not only for urban areas, for the entire country."

"Because it is my belief, even when we look at irrigation, the water supply needs also to be attended to," he added.