ADDRESSING FRESH WATER CONFLICTS:THE LLDA EXPERIENCE IN LAGUNA DE BAY’
Laguna de Bay is one of the most important natural resource base being the largest inlandbody of water in the Philippines, and the 18
Living Lake of the world. Together with its380,000-hectare watershed, it is the focal point of national development efforts not only in theagriculture and fishery, water supply and energy sectors, but in the regional developmentprogram as well. This is primarily due to its strategic location and economic andenvironmental significance, but also its vast development potentials due to its multiple uses.Yet, while the importance of the lake and its watershed are widely recognized, these naturalresources have become consistently the site of many policy and institutional conflicts thatthreaten the sustainability of these resources to perform environmental functions and provideproducts and services for present and future generations of stakeholders.By looking at the experiences of the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) on conflictresolution measures given the complexities in the management of Laguna de Bay and itswatershed, this paper will attempt to answer the following questions on natural resource-basedconflicts (NRC): (i) What are the conflicts and where do they occur? (ii) What are thetools/measures applied to address the conflicts, what works and what does not work? What arethe lessons learned? (iii) What are the conflict trends? (iv) What are the next steps needed bywhat agencies to address the NRC?
II. THE CONFLICTS AND THEIR CONTEXT2.1 Laguna de Bay and Its Watershed
Laguna de Bay is a very vital resource. With a total surface area of approximately 900km2, itis the largest inland body of water in the country and one of the largest in Southeast Asia. Thewatershed area is 2920 km
, which is approximately 1.3% of the country’s land area of 300,000 km
and is referred to as the Laguna de Bay Region. It encompasses the wholeprovinces of Rizal and Laguna, portions of the provinces of Cavite, Batangas and Quezon andnine out of 11 municipalities and cities of Metro Manila. It is host to a total of 66 LocalGovernment Units consisting of five municipalities, 10 cities and five provinces) and home toover 10 million Filipinos.
Presented in the Workshop on Natural Resource-based Conflicts in the Philippine sponsored by UnitedStates Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of Environment and NaturalResources (DENR), 13-14 May 2004, Westin Philippine Plaza, Pasay City, Philippines.
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