Thursday, August 02, 2007

Why not use economic instruments to address the water crisis?

What?! The government is thinking about "emergency powers" to address the water supply problem? Crazy! Emergency powers could never force the rains to come. But economic instruments could address the problem if only we have the guts to do so. How? I wrote something about this issue in Manila Times three years ago. Among my conclusions:

"On the demand side, the government should manage demand by reflecting the cost of generating and delivering raw water in pricing for both irrigation and urban water supply. Incomes generated from this service could be used to develop additional sources of raw water.

Better still, the government should consider using “economic instruments”—for instance, variable charge—on the extraction of raw water from the dams and reservoirs to reflect the true scarcity of water. This charge should be low during the times (January, February, November and December) when the water elevation in Angat is usually high or at least above 210 meters. The charge would gradually rise as the water level declines in March, April, May, June and July, depending on the actual situation.

This way, water users—both in agriculture and in urban areas—would be pressured to conserve water in times of scarcity. This measure would require strengthening the National Water Resources Board to regulate deep wells and prevent the excessive use of water.

The water shortage calls for rigorous measures; there is no other way to do it."

That was three years ago...


manuelbuencamino said...

Well the CBCP believes prayers will bring rain.
Personally, I think a Cabinet rain dance led by Gloria will bo it.

Dave Llorito said...

i dont know about the GMA raindance, mb. these bunch might attract lightning but not rain.