The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on Wednesday, repurposing NIA’s water rights and further promoting water security in the Philippines.

DENR-Water Resource Management Office Undersecretary Dr. Carlos Primo David said that the agreement aims to solidify government efforts in ensuring water security in the country through various government agencies with water-related functions. 

“[This] is a convergence between several government agencies with water-related functions … we are able to plan and coordinate our efforts together and I’m referring to the DENR, which I represent, the National Water Resources Board, and everyone here in Malacañang,” David said. 

With the MOA, irrigation water managed and developed by the NIA will no longer solely serve the agriculture sector as excess irrigation water will now be used for power production, bulk water supply, aquaculture, recreation, and tourism, among others. 

Other purposes also include increasing the revenue of the NIA. 

The DENR, through the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) and the Water Resources Management Office (WRMO), will be tasked to conserve and protect water resources to meet the changing needs under existing laws on water management and utilization.

Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Hubert Guevarra, for his part, urged the NIA, NWRB, and the WRMO “to be more responsive to the changing needs of the country in the use and development of waters in consonance with the underlying principles of the water code and the goal of our President for water security.”

The said MOA is in line with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr’s Executive Order (EO) No. 22 creating the WRMO under the DENR, which will be responsible for “the integration and harmonization of all government efforts and regulatory activities to ensure availability and sustainable management of water resources in the whole country.”

Also present during the event were Assistant Secretary Jason Alba from the Office of the Senior Deputy Executive Secretary, Department of Finance (DOF) Undersecretary Catherine Fong, and NIA Acting Civil Works Design Section Chief Engr. Roald Marck Revellame. | PND