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Historical Background

The Creation of the NWRB's predecessor National Water Resources Council, as the Policy-Making Body for the Philippine Water Sector.

The predecessor of the NWRB is the National Water Resources Council (“NWRC”), which was created in 1974 under Presidential Decree No. 424, otherwise known as the “Integrated Reorganization Plan”. It was subsequently renamed as NWRB pursuant to Executive Order No. 124-A. Under the said decree, the NWRB is tasked among others, to:

  •     Coordinate and integrate water resource development activities of the country;
  •     Formulate general criteria, methods and standards for data collection, project investigation, formulation, planning design and feasibility evaluation, and rules and regulations for the exploitation and optimum utilization of water resources;
  •     Review and approve water resource development plans and programs of other agencies;
  •    Undertake river basin surveys, inventories and appraisals, and develop comprehensive basin-wide plans of storage and control to maximize the conservation and multi-purpose use of water;
  •     Undertake hydrologic surveys and establish, operate and maintain observation station networks and centralized water resources data center;
  •     Conduct and/or promote special studies and researches with other government or agencies on related aspects of water resources development.

The NWRB is also tasked to advise the National Economic and Development Authority (“NEDA”) on matters pertaining to water resources development projects and programs; and recommend general policies and guidelines and short/long range plans and programs for water resources development.

The Institution of NWRB as Resource Regulator.

In 1976, Presidential Decree No. 1067, otherwise known as the “Water Code of the Philippines” was enacted. Based on the principles that: (a) “all water belongs to the State;” and (b) the State may allow the use or development of its waters by administrative concession,” the NWRB was instituted as a “water resource regulator” tasked to regulate and control the utilization, exploitation, development, conservation and protection of all water resources.

The specific functions of the NWRB, as a "Water Resource Regulator", include among others, (a) the issuance water permits for the appropriation, and use of waters; and (b) adjudication of disputes relating to the appropriation, utilization, exploitation, development, control and conservation, protection of waters.

The Institution of NWRB as Economic Regulator for Waterworks Systems.

In 1977, the Board of Power and Waterworks (BPW) was abolished pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 1206. The function of the BPW that were inherited from the Public Service Commission as regards waterworks systems, were later transferred to the NWRB, instituting the NWRB as an “economic regulator” of waterworks systems.

The Transfer of Regulation of Water Tariffs for Water Districts to the NWRB.

In 2002, the approval of tariffs for water districts was transferred to the NWRB from the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), pursuant to Executive Order No. 123. In the same executive order, the membership of the NWRB Board was changed to its present composition.