Aboitiz InfraCapital

Home / Blogs / The Role of Water Management in Nation Building

The Role of Water Management in Nation Building


December 13, 2022

glass of water

Water scarcity may become the next serious issue the Philippines’ leaders and policymakers will need to face in the coming decades. A 2019 World Health Organization report on the ongoing Philippine water supply shortage has called it an imminent threat to sustainable development and public health, noting important statistics that highlight the urgency of the issue: 

  • 1-in-10 Filipinos lack access to improved water sources.
  • 139,000 Filipinos died of acute watery diarrhea, caused by various waterborne illnesses, in 2016.
  • Climate change is threatening limited freshwater reserves.
  • Intermittent low supplies of water increase the risk of contamination, even when regular supply is restored
  • Reduced availability forces people to store water, which often increases mosquito-borne illnesses.
  • The lack of adequate water infrastructure forces people to rely on unsafe water supplies.

Aboitiz InfraCapital recognizes that these and other effects of water scarcity don’t just affect our health and quality of life, they can have serious implications for the future of the Philippines as well. 

Through its water management projects and investments, Aboitiz has continuously done its part to ensure a stable supply of clean drinking water for all Filipinos. Below are some of the key roles a stable sustainable water supply has in building a strong, resilient nation.

1.) Reduces mortality

Deaths and illnesses from waterborne diseases are among the most preventable known to modern medicine. However, neglected water infrastructure has, directly and indirectly, led to countless deaths in the Philippines and in other countries in the past. 

What many of us might not consider is that incidences of waterborne illnesses and deaths do not just affect one family. In most cases, the financial burden of each of those cases is largely borne by taxpayers. This is especially true considering the people most affected by waterborne illnesses are reliant on public health services.

A reduction in cases of waterborne illnesses through better infrastructure can thus be a way to prevent an extra burden on the economy, the public healthcare system, and on individual families. The savings from reduced healthcare costs and the prevention of lost productivity could then be reinvested into other issues of concern that also need urgent attention.

2.) Builds food security

Adequate water infrastructure isn’t just important for drinking, hygiene, and sanitation. It is also necessary for irrigating crops needed by people, livestock, and various industries. Having clean, abundant water on demand is foundational for the food security of any community.

3.) Facilitates economic activity

Communities are free to pursue other essential endeavors when clean, potable water is readily available for drinking, sanitation, and agriculture irrigation.

Without immediate access to safe water supply, communities may have to spend hours of each day collecting, transporting, sanitizing, and storing water, preventing them from focusing on being productive. 

Having clean water anytime one needs it frees entire communities of these burdens, allowing more time to pursue personal endeavors and opportunities for livelihood. This inevitably drives up economic activity.

4.) Prevents resource inequity

A large part of nation-building is ensuring that everyone has fair access to important resources like water. 

The ease of supplying water varies from region to region, and the archipelagic form of the country has made it especially difficult to develop water distribution systems outside of already-established ones. This often leaves people in less-developed areas feeling left behind and less connected to the nation at large.

Through its stake in Balibago Waterworks System, Inc. (BWSI), the biggest and most efficient provincial water utility system in the country, Aboitiz InfraCapital is doing its part to help address these issues. With developments in smaller water districts throughout the country, the company and its government and private-sector collaborators are already serving the water needs of 235,000 households in BWSI’s franchise areas, which span 11 regions and 20 provinces.

5.) Ensures long-term political and social stability 

The United Nations indicates that unequal access to water is a growing source of conflict and instability. Due to climate change, as well as overexploitation due to the growing populations and dwindling resources, water tables everywhere have been disrupted past the point that old water management and distribution systems could effectively handle.

In the Philippines, different water districts that once had an abundant supply have already faced water shortages due to high demand and extreme system losses brought by ever hotter dry seasons. Moving forward, more sustainable water management practices must be implemented to avoid potential future conflicts. Apo Agua Infrastructura, Inc., an Aboitiz InfraCapital project that will address the water needs of the Metro Davao area, is one such sustainable project that is showing policymakers in the country the way forward.

Unlike past operations that relied on the area’s groundwater wells, Apo Agua will tap the Tamugan River, a more sustainable source of water. The project also features a sustainable water-treatment facility that is powered by renewable hydroelectric energy, with a daily output of 300 million liters of clean water. This not only ensures a clean and stable supply of water but also avoids climate-changing carbon emissions that would further endanger the world’s water reserves.

Ensuring a stable supply of clean water requires continual investment and proper management of resources by the national government, local government units, and private organizations. Through its water resource management projects and investments, Aboitiz takes the lead in creating a healthier, more climate-resilient, and more prosperous Philippines.

More Blogs

Back to Top