Republic Act No. 9275: The Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 Albert P. Aquino and Aleta Belissa D. Correa
As an archipelago, the Philippines is surrounded with water. It ranks fourth with the longest coastline in the world measuring 36,289 km (22,559 miles) while its water area covers 1,830 sq km (The World Factbook). The country’s water resources have played a significant role in its development. However, some development efforts, combined with the rising demands of the ever-increasing population, have caused damage to these water resources. In response, a law was signed to “pursue a policy of economic growth in a manner consistent with the protection, preservation and revival of the quality of our fresh, brackish and marine waters” (Section 2). Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9275 titled “An Act Providing for a Comprehensive Water Quality Management and for Other Purposes”, also known as the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 (CWA), was signed by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on March 22, 2004. It took effect on May 6, 2004, with its Implementing Rules and Regulation (IRR) contained in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order (A.O.) No. 2005-10. Coverage
The law applies to water quality management in all water bodies. It primarily applies to the abatement and control of pollution from land-based sources. The water quality standards and regulations and the civil liability and penal provisions under the law shall be enforced irrespective of sources of pollution (Section 3). In addition to regulating pollution of water bodies, DENR shall formulate and apply standards for the transport and disposal of effluent, sewage and septage offsite, whether offshore or on land as well as disposal of individual wastewater on land. The Department of Agriculture (DA) shall develop guidelines for re-use of wastewater for irrigation purposes or as soil conditioner or fertilizer (Rule 3.1). Institutional mechanism
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), as the primary agency responsible for the implementation of the CWA, shall take the lead in the preparation, implementation, and enforcement of the following (Rule 19): National water quality status report – this report shall identify (a) the location of water bodies, their quality, taking into account seasonal, tidal and other variations, existing and potential uses and sources of pollution per specific pollutant and pollution load assessment; (b) water quality management areas, and water classification (Rule 19.1). Integrated Water Quality Management Framework (IWQMF) – this may contain, but not limited to the following: (a) assessment of policies and institutional arrangements and capacities relevant to water quality management including the strategy of devolution to LGUs; (b) management strategies; (c) sustainable financing strategies; and (d) performance monitoring (Rule 19.2). Water Quality Management Area (WQMA) Action Plan for each WQMA - includes, but not limited to, the following: (a) goals and targets including sewerage or septage program, (b) schedule of compliance to meet the applicable requirements of this Act; (c) water pollution control strategies or techniques; (d) water quality information and education program; e) resource requirement and possible sources; f) enforcement procedures of the plan and (g) rewards and incentives (Rule 19.3) Groundwater vulnerability mapping- the DENR through the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) shall publish a national groundwater vulnerability map (rule 19.4), which means the identified areas of the land surface where groundwater quality is most at risk from human activities and shall reflect the different degrees of groundwater vulnerability based on a range of soil properties and hydro geological criteria to serve as guide in the protection of the groundwater from contamination (Section 4 t). Water quality guidelines – these shall reflect the latest...
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