INTEGRATED WATER MANAGEMENT IN BAGUIO CITY, PHILIPPINES
The Sustainable Water Integrated Management and Governance (SWIM) project was implemented in Baguio City, the Philippines, from 2004 to 2005. Previously, the city did not have an integrated water situational analysis, plan or regulatory framework on water governance. No single agency coordinated local water policy-making, planning and actions. The result was a fragmented approach. Operations for water services and resource management were divided, coordination among key sectors was weak and water security was at risk. There was no coordinating mechanism for local water governance, nor a mechanism to monitor water quality, sourcing and strategy implementation.
The project began in September 2004 and was completed in August 2005. It sought to address the city’s urgent need for a regulatory framework and integrated plan for sustainable water use, equitable access and improved efficiency of water suppliers in a context where urbanization, population growth and tourism are increasing water demand despite limited resources. Baguio’s local government is the main actor. It partnered with ICLEI: Local Governments for Sustainability, Southeast Asia (ICLEI-SEA) to implement the project, which was financially supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
1. Practice Activities
The project brought together various stakeholders involved with water production, distribution, waste water treatment, and monitoring and regulation to exchange information and coordinate their activities to improve Baguio’s water governance. The project organized 22 local water dialogues, which were joined by 805 stakeholders including representatives of local government departments, regional executives of national government agencies, village leaders and key non-government organizations (NGOs).
As a result of the dialogues, a City Water Governance Committee (CWGC) was set up within the City Development Council (CDC) to assist the council in water development planning and management, policy review and advocacy, giving priority attention to the water security agenda adopted by the city government. The City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) provide secretariat functions.
A SWIM technical working group was set up and operates as the technical committee and coordinating group of the CWGC. This is the hub of the institutional integrating mechanism established by the project. It is charged with overall coordination, consolidation and harmonization of the different components and activities within the city’s water plan. The working group may invite participants from NGOs and the private sector to join discussions, planning and monitoring and evaluation as necessary. Within the technical working group, there are three general categories of working groups and subgroups: A resource management group, an area-based management group and a social mobilization group. The working groups have designated lead convenors based in city offices while co-convenors are mostly staff from national agencies.
The project culminated in the Baguio Water Summit and a final dissemination activity at the offices of the ADB in August 2005. The summit presented the project’s outcomes publicly while 26 local governments from across the Philippines joined the ADB meeting to assess potential replication of the project. Baguio City is also pursuing discussions with neighbouring municipalities on transboundary water issues.
Key project outputs include (i) gaining an executive order that adopted the city’s water security agenda and its implementing mechanism, (ii) gaining endorsement and approval for the draft local water ordinance, approved by the City Council on 15 May 2006, and (iii) gaining endorsement for the $1.3 million City Water Operational and Investment Plan 2005-2010from the CDC’s Executive Committee. The mayor endorsed 80 per cent of projects in the investment plan for prioritization and inclusion in the city’s 2006 annual investment plan. A budget was allocated for 2006 as a mobilization fund for transboundary water and watershed co-management with the municipalities of La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan and Tuba, convened by the City of Baguio.
The project has increased the awareness and understanding of stakeholders regarding the need to regulate water resources. Partnerships have been forged with the water district and barangays, or villages, and coordination has been improved with the National Water Resource Board (NWRB), the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), NGOs, the media and the business sector. Water refilling stations organized to form the Baguio Association of Purified and Mineral Water Refillers (BAPMWR). Civil society participation in water governance is provided for in the policies and institutional mechanisms established during the project.
The water agenda framework developed for the project serves as a model for the city’s planning process, with local government staff now using it for planning and project development. Meanwhile, village leaders have become program champions and have made a commitment to help implement the water agenda in their village development plans.
Another significant contribution of the project is the mainstreaming of sustainable water financing in the city’s water governance strategies. Sustainable water financingincorporates cost recovery and “polluter pays” principles in the design and implementation of water programs and projects, especially those that are capital intensive.
Baguio’s city government has adopted the SWIM project as a core program, which is now included in its development plan and planned to be integrated in barangay development plans. Multi-stakeholdership was emphasized during the project, in turn strengthening a sense of ownership. Actors involved included individuals, village leaders, city government departments, local governments (La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan and Tuba), national agencies and their regional offices, academic institutions, the media, NGOs and the private sector. The multi-stakeholder strategy enabled the various actors to identify with the initiative and make good use of their respective information and resources. In clarifying working arrangements between local and national government agencies, each agency realizes it has a role to play in the sustainable provision of safe water to residents and businesses in Baguio.
The CDC approved the City Water Operational and Investment Plan 2005-2010, with investment priorities budgeted at PHP258.185 million for the water infrastructure program and PHP15.37 million for the water research, planning and development program. Approval of the planensures that envisioned activities will be funded and implemented.
The local government and the Baguio Water District (BWD) are forming a partnership which will be an element of the institutional mechanism set up by the project to cover water governance. This collaboration is expected to be reflected in the local regulatory framework.
4. Replicability and expansion
The project’s networking and dissemination activities resulted in four other local governments (Naga, Bohol, Palawan and Iloilo City) also adopting water agendas during the project timeframe. Naga adopted a four-point priority agenda for 2005-2007 to minimize waste flows to the Naga River. Bohol Province sought to improve water access and supply, and to institute an integrated water governance mechanism. Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan and Tuba agreed to revive a coordination mechanism and share responsibility for all watersheds and river systems within their government areas.
SWIM’s outputs are replicable, but require working to ensure the mechanisms developed operate well and are enforced. The challenge for good water governance is to recognize the link between water services and water resource management, as well as the implications for policies and actions to protect water as a common and global good. Thus, governance actions pursue three tracks for capacity development: (i) Engage more local governments to undertake water actions, (ii) provide technical assistance to local governments to help them put water strategies into practice, and (iii) report on and share information about the contributions of local governments in enacting water reforms. Local capacity development for integrated water governance should form part of all urban infrastructure investment programs. Institutional development actions should also target poorer local governments as an investment in poverty reduction.
5. Contact information
Ms Cordelia C. Lacsamana, OIC-CEPMO
Phone: +63-920-9618-744, E-mail: [email protected]
This executive summary is based on the documentation prepared by
Ms. Minerva Gonzales
9 August Street, Barangay Bahay Toro, Quezon City, Philippines
Phone: +63-2-920-3019, E-mail: [email protected]