An attempt to create the largest human water drop formation, a variety show, and a national water summit will highlight this year’s celebration of World Water Day (WWD) in the country.

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje said the WWD 2012 celebration on March 22 would center on the local theme, “Katiyakan sa Tubig, Katiyakan sa Pagkain,” an adaptation of the international theme “Water and Food Security.”

Paje said that this year’s activities would focus on increasing awareness to conserve water resources “not only because we need water to drink, bathe in and wash our clothes, but also because it is an important component of the food that we eat.”

“Water is very much incorporated in the food supply chain, whether in irrigation and fisheries or in producing feeds for our livestock,” Paje said.

WWD 2012 will also look at how the swelling population can cope with the increasing pressure on available water resources by consuming less water-intensive products and reducing food wastage, which translates to lost water, according to him. “This is the concept of measuring the ‘water footprint’ or the total volume of freshwater used to produce goods and services,” he explained.

Dubbed “Water Knowledge Fair”, the water summit on Thursday (March 22) will start with the launching of “knowledge products” focused on delivering water services, particularly in rural areas. Around 200 representatives of government agencies, local government units, water service providers, implementers of the ‘Sagana at Ligtas na Tubig sa Lahat’ (SALINTUBIG) program, and other stakeholders are expected to attend the summit to discuss different water-related programs and strategies.

The event is being organized by the Philippine government, along with partners from the Millenium Development Goals Fund, and would be held at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel in Mandaluyong City.

Later in the afternoon, participants from the youth and civil society will join representatives from DENR’s partner agencies in carrying water jugs and food baskets for the “Philippines Walks for Water” event at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila. The walk will symbolize “walking for the waterless and for sustained water supply for food production,” and will culminate with the participants creating a human water drop formation, a first-ever attempt to set a record as the world’s largest of its kind.

To end the day-long celebration, many of the “walkers” will be treated to a “Water Festival” featuring invited performers and a musical lights and fountain show at the Aquatica in nearby Manila Ocean Park.

Part of the show will be the signing on a “commitment wall” by officials of all partner agencies, from both public and private sectors, pledging to act together for continued and sustainable water supply.

Prior to the main event, the DENR and its partner agencies have also undertaken various activities building up to global celebration. Among these are as follows:

Last March 19, the DENR launched Philippine Water Week with a week-long exhibit at the agency’s main lobby in Quezon City showcasing the winning entries of an on-the-spot painting contest held also at the DENR on March 16. The contest, held in collaboration with the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Autism Society of the Philippines, was participated in by grades 5 and 6 elementary students, with a “Special Art” category for students with autism.

Jermaeka Verano of Old Balara Elementary School, Nazarene Tordelino of San Diego Elementary School, and Gillian Aypa of Santo Cristo Elementary School, all in Quezon City, won the first, second and third prizes respectively under the Regular Art category.

Jeric Milan of Commonwealth Elementary School, also in Quezon City; Ernesto Marasigan of Pateros Elementary School, Pateros City; and Kim Lawrence Esperanza of Padre Mariano Gomez Elementary School, Sta. Cruz, Manila, won the top three prizes under the “Special Art” category.

All entries followed the theme, “Katubigan Pangalagaan! Para sa Tiyak na Masaganang Hapag Kainan”.
The exhibit also displayed the winners of an on-the-spot painting and illustrated slogan contest organized by the National Water Resources Board (NWRB), an attached agency of the DENR, along with the DepEd, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, and the Philippine Water Partnership.

Garnering the top three prizes in this competition were Alessandra Millan Balanade of Malinta Elementary School in Valenzuela City; Christian Melgar of P. Zamora Elementary School in Pasay City; and Elyana Omang of Santiago E. de Guzman Elementary School, also in Valenzuela City.

Tomorrow, (March 21), the Sagip-Ilog Pilipinas Movement will launch the “River Scouts” with a fluvial parade on the Pasig River, from Plaza Mexico in Intramuros, Manila to past the Makati Linear Park in Makati City.

Also on Thursday (March 22), the Laguna Lake Development Authority, an attached agency of the DENR, together with the municipality of Siniloan in Laguna province will undertake a riverbank tree planting activity. Meanwhile, the DENR-National Capital Region and the Archdiocese of Manila will plant mangroves along Brgy. Tanza in Navotas City.