Water Governance Towards Building a Better Normal

The Philippine Association of Water Districts (PAWD) successfully conducted the 43rd PAWD National Convention from June 15 – 17, 2022 at Waterfront Hotel in Lahug, Cebu City. The event was hosted by Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD). There were 1,867 participants from the water districts and 480 exhibitors and sponsors.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has changed almost everything in this world. It caused a slowdown of the world’s economy. It modified the way we do business, and we have been contented meeting and transacting business virtually.

After two years of varying levels of community quarantine across the country which limited face to face interactions, PAWD Convention that the local water industry looks forward to every year was back. The 43rd PAWD National Convention happened with the theme “Water Governance Towards Building a Better Normal.”

“We are happy to be back, face to face, with our colleagues in the industry as we merely met virtually in the past two years. We are excited to see fellow GMs and the members of the Board of other water districts to share experiences during the pandemic but we are also reminding the participants to observe prevailing health protocols for everybody’s safety,” said Metro Kidapawan WD GM Stella Gonzales and immediate past PAWD President.

The theme, “Water Governance Towards Building a Better Normal,” was aptly adopted to exemplify the real situation in the water supply sector today. Water governance refers to the political, social, economic and administrative systems in place that influence water use and management. Climate change, increasing customer demands, declining per capita water availability, deteriorating water quality, financial stress and water security are among the challenges currently faced by water districts. The COVID-19 pandemic aggravated the situation. Good governance and management are essential to ensure the fulfillment of the mandates of the water districts and to enable them to adapt to the needs of the times, thereby, building a better normal. This convention highlighted approaches addressing issues faced by WDs, experiences and best practices, and technological solutions, among others.

Pre-event sessions included Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) – Water Districts (WD) Dialogue and Well Development and Groundwater Management, and Workplace Productivity happened during Day 1 on June 15, 2022. Issues and concerns between the LWUA and the water districts regarding funding, loan applications, and prevailing policies were threshed out, clarified, or resolved during the Dialogue.

Learning sessions included topics in water security, water demand management, planning for better normal, water governance, innovation, and digital transformation of WDs.

With the Products / Services Exhibition and various learning sessions during the 3-day event, the Convention aimed to improve water district management and operation as the country eases into a new and better normal.

The Convention kicked off with a Sports Event on June 14, 2022 where some general managers of water districts competed in basketball, volleyball, and lawn tennis tournaments. Water district plumbers showed off and competed in the 9th Tap and Drill Skills Olympics on the following day, where Butuan City WD placed 4th, La Carlota City WD on 3rd place, Tagum WD was 2nd place, and Metro Kidapawan WD was declared champion.

The PAWD 43rd Convention formally opened on June 16th, following the opening of the products exhibit. Eileen L. Dela Vega, OIC – Administrator of Local Water Utilities Administration, addressed the attendees as keynote speaker. The PAWD General Assembly and election for the Executive Vice President were held in the afternoon. Attendees were treated to a night of songs and dances as they were catching up with old friends and meeting new ones in the evening during the fellowship night.

The last day of the Convention brought learning sessions to the attendees, as well as awarding ceremonies for water district GMs and Board members who have been in service for 10, 15, and 20 years. The induction of the new set of PAWD Officers and formal turn-over of responsibilities were held in the evening before the closing ceremonies.

Indeed, PAWD is a community of those working in the water industry, we're more than an organization – we're a family, a movement, a culture for participants, suppliers and stakeholders.

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Last Update: August 23, 2022