MANILA – Malacañang has directed all national government agencies and instrumentalities to ensure the strict implementation of water conservation measures to thwart the possible shortage of supply amid the looming El Niño phenomenon.

Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, by authority of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., signed on June 7 Memorandum Circular (MC) 22, mandating all government offices to identify and implement “specific, quantifiable, and attainable” water conservation measures that will result in 10 percent water volume reduction of their respective first quarter (January to March 2023) water consumption.

MC 22 covers all national government agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned or -controlled corporations and state universities and colleges.

“With the probability of the El Niño phenomenon occurring within the next few months, there is an urgent need to implement water conservation measures to avert a looming water crisis not just in Metro Manila, but in all other areas of the country experiencing water scarcity,” the order read.

Under MC 22, the Water Resources Management Office (WRMO) and its network of agencies with water-related functions will take the lead in implementing a nationwide water conservation program, in coordination with other relevant government agencies.

The WRMO, created under Executive Order 22 inked by Marcos on April 27, is the apex government body in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) tasked to harmonize government efforts and oversee the implementation of the Water Resources Management Plan to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water resources in the country.

MC 22 tasks the WRMO to identify strategies for water conservation, monitor the compliance of government agencies and instrumentalities with the water conservation measures, and provide quarterly progress updates to the Office of the President, through the Office of the Executive Secretary.

The Local Water Utilities Administration, the National Water Resources Board, and the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System are directed to submit to the WRMO a monthly supply-demand projection, highlighting any likelihood of a deficit in water supply in the near future.

Government-run water service providers (WSPs) are directed to implement water conservation measures, including non-revenue water management and water pressure management.

Private WSPs are encouraged to also submit a monthly supply-demand projection and implement water conservation measures.

National government-run WSPs are mandated, while local government-run WSPs are enjoined to immediately complete their projects to reduce non-revenue water and upgrade water distribution pipes.

Local government units are encouraged to process the requests of WSPs for waterworks within a reasonable time.

“If any part or provision of this Circular is held unconstitutional or invalid, other parts not affected thereby shall continue to be in full force and effect,” MC 22, which takes effect immediately, said.

“All issuances, orders, rules and regulations, or parts thereof which are inconsistent with the provisions of this Circular are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.”

A copy of MC 22 was uploaded on the Official Gazette’s official website on Friday. (PNA)