By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu targets to classify 183 more water bodies nationwide in the next five years in order to improve their water quality.
He was assured by the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau that the classification of an additional 183 water bodies would be finished by 2022.
So far, the DENR has classified 761 water bodies, composed of lakes, rivers, streams and marine waters, since the enactment of Republic Act 9275, otherwise known as the Philippine Clean Water Act in 2004.
Water classification aims to set goals for water quality and promote management of water bodies, especially those identified as possible drinking water sources.
“These water resources need to be protected and managed with care in order for them to supply us with adequate clean water for the foreseeable future,” Cimatu explained.
He pointed out that the classification of the country’s water resources is the primary mandate of the DENR under the Clean Water Act.
“Clean water is a significant, and often undervalued, resource. It is important for many reasons, including human health, food security, healthy wildlife and habitats, fishing, bathing and other recreational activities,” he said.
“It is therefore necessary that we protect and improve the quality of our water resources,” he added.
As a requirement in RA 9275, DENR has instituted a classification system that establishes water quality classes and the associated quality standards, and identifies the administrative processes and requirements related to the classification of water.
The classification standards establish designated uses, related characteristic of those uses, and criteria necessary to protect the uses, and establish specific conditions for certain activities such as the discharge of wastewater.