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The rural-urban equity nexus of Metro Manila’s water system Torio, Philamer Carlos; Harris, Leila; Angeles, Leonora C. 2019-04

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    The rural-urban equity nexus of Metro Manila’s water system Philamer C. Torio School of Government, Ateneo de Manila University Corresponding Author: p.torio@un-ihe.org Leila M. Harris Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, The University of British Columbia Leonora C. Angeles Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, The University of British Columbia  University of British Columbia, May 2020  Final version:  “This is an original manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in WATER INTERNATIONAL on April 2019, available online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02508060.2019.1560559.” Final article citation: Philamer C. Torio, Leila M. Harris & Leonora C. Angeles (2019) The rural–urban equity nexus of Metro Manila’s water system, Water International, 44:2, 115-128. https://doi.org/10.1080/02508060.2019.1560559  Citations of this work should use the final version as noted above   ii INSTITUTE FOR RESOURCES, ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA  TABLE OF CONTENTS   ABSTRACT ..................................................................................................................... 1 INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................................. 2 EQUITY: A VARIEGATED CONCEPT ............................................................................ 3 RURAL – URBAN EQUITY NEXUS ................................................................................ 5 Angat Dam and its water allocation protocol ................................................................ 5 Rural irrigation water supply shortfall: a frequent occurrence ...................................... 8 Public urban water provision: until 1997 ...................................................................... 9 Private sector provision: after 1997 ............................................................................ 10 CONCLUSION: THE CASE FOR BROADER EQUITY REVIEWS ................................ 12 REFERENCES .............................................................................................................. 14       1 INSTITUTE FOR RESOURCES, ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA  ABSTRACT This article examines equity concerns and inherent conflicts related to rural-urban water supply allocation and use, with focus on Metro Manila. Going beyond the much-discussed difficulty farmers experience from an allocation policy prioritizing urban water requirements, it shows that inequity in raw water allocation is linked to, and further exacerbated by, inequities in urban domestic water provision. Moreover, it highlights the need for broader equity reviews, using the concept of the rural-urban water equity nexus to draw attention to key equity considerations across space and scale that otherwise might remain invisible. Keywords: Angat Dam; rural; urban; equity; efficiency; Metro Manila              2 INSTITUTE FOR RESOURCES, ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA  INTRODUCTION While the concept of efficiency has dominated the discourse on water resource management in recent decades, particularly given broader shifts towards neoliberal and utilitarian views of water, there has been growing emphasis on issues of water justice and equity – concepts that are emphasized by NGOs, scholars, and water justice advocates (Lacey, 2008; Perreault, 2014, Boelens, Perreault, & Vos, 2018). For water allocation, a focus on productive uses, market mechanisms, and economic incentives has often prioritized higher value uses in water supply, typically shifting the allocation schema from agricultural to urban and industrial uses in varied geographical contexts (Whiteley, Helen, & Perry, 2008, Shah and Zerriffi, 2017). Though efficiency is an important policy focus, there are clear costs and risks associated with singular attention on this concept as a predominant metric. This is particularly so considering that at times it is applied in ways that fail to attend to, and may even aggravate, water related conflicts and supply challenges (Whiteley et al., 2008). As Lacey (2008) and Perreault (2014) have argued, there is a clear need to recognize values of equity and justice to counterbalance the common focus on efficiency and markets. Greater consideration of these values offers the ability to understand and address concerns of importance for populations that are socially disadvantaged and economically marginalized (see Kirjan, 2012). Echoing and amplifying this suggestion, a range of water justice advocates and environmental justice scholars have highlighted equity concerns to be paramount in water governance discussions (e.g. Boelens, 2009; Harris, 2013; Zwarteveen et al., 2017; Harris, McKenzie, Rodina, Shah, & Wilson, 2017).   Contributing to this focus, this article investigates the rural-urban water equity nexus of the Metro Manila water system, with specific attention to periods of El Niño occurrence and long dry spells. To develop and interrogate the notion of the rural-urban water equity nexus, the analysis considers equity issues related to water allocation from the Angat Dam, a multi-purpose reservoir supplying domestic water to Metro Manila residents and irrigation water to rural farmers. Other authors (e.g. Tabios & David, 2004; Shah & Zerrifi, 2017) have also discussed the difficulty rural farmers experience during extremely dry conditions, particularly given the existence of an allocation policy that favors urban consumers of Metro Manila in times characterized by these conditions. However, this paper goes further by showing that inequity in raw water allocation is linked to, and further exacerbated by, inequities in drinking water provision for nearby urban Manila. The concept of the equity nexus emphasizes linkages and interdependencies across the rural-urban gradient, and ways that these issues are often recalibrated across spaces and scales. To begin with, the paper discusses varied concepts of equity in water governance to lay the foundation for the analysis. The next section reviews the existing allocation protocols for Angat Dam, highlighting the inherent bias that favors urban water supply over agricultural uses, resulting in significant precarities and revenue losses for the farmers during periods of water scarcity. Metro Manila’s water provision is then examined in the contexts of pre- and post-privatization scenarios, to understand conditions of urban water inequities that have evolved during these different periods, with attention to possible temporal shifts that may have occurred. The concluding section calls for broader equity   3 INSTITUTE FOR RESOURCES, ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA  reviews on water allocation and use in Metro Manila, using the rural-urban water equity nexus as a conceptual framework to document and highlight interlinked equity considerations that might otherwise remain invisible. EQUITY: A VARIEGATED CONCEPT The concept of equity is intrinsic in water resource management (Wegerich, 2007; Whiteley et al., 2008), and while many policies stress the need for equitable allocation of water, the concept of equity often remains undefined and ambiguous (Syme, Nancarrow, & McCreddin, 1999; Wegerich, 2007). Kirjan (2012) and Lacey (2008) point out that the lack of sufficient attention to equity in water resource management has led to significant conflicts, disempowering many consumers; at times, even denying basic rights to water for some. Arguably, the relative under-focus on equity is shifting with growing discourses on the human right to water and politics associated with water justice over the past few decades (e.g. Roth, Boelens, & Zwarteveen, 2005; Boelens, 2009; Zwarteveen & Boelens, 2014; Perreault, 2014; Harris et al., 2017). Nonetheless, there is a clear need for conceptual elaboration, including clarification of key approaches and definitions, as well as enriched policy analysis with an equity lens for various aspects of water governance – from shifting water supply or pricing regimes, to implementation of new technologies or governance approaches. While these themes have been explored in the literature (e.g. Zwarteveen et al., 2017; Harris, et al., 2017; Phansalkar, 2007), our contribution elaborates on the concept of rural-urban water equity nexus, offering analytical focus to highlight the multi-faceted and multi-scalar ways that urban and rural water equity issues are often interlinked, interdependent and mutually imbricated. Often there are complex equity trade-offs and consequences arising from spatial and temporal shifts across the waterscape, frequently entailing shifting water access, uses, and conditions between rural and urban users and spaces.  Many of the other contributions to this volume (2019) similarly elaborate dynamics and trade-offs between rural and urban users and uses.  For instance, contributions by Duarte-Abadia and Boelens, Bleeker and Vos, and Goldman and Narayan provide similar examples of rural to urban water transfers, and associated inequities—often in the name of modernity, global urbanism (in the case of Bangalore), or water utopias (in the case of Spain). Also, with complex trade-offs, but with different dynamics that favour white commercial farmers in the case of South Africa (Wessels et al), or export oriented agriculture in Peru (Damonte and Boelens), here there is a complex dynamic where large industrial farming enjoys privileged access to water, at the expense of impoverished urban households, peasants or other marginalized communities. As such, all the contributions in this issue speak in different ways to dynamics of the rural urban equity nexus.  Here, with this contribution focused on Metropolitan Manila, we document and analyze the complex ways equity is renegotiated in relation to rural-urban water dynamics, as well as how shifting uses and conditions of water across urban and rural spaces have complex implications for differentiated, yet interlinked, inequities. We explore these linkages specific to our case study, and also offer some more general conceptual and analytical insights along these lines. To further develop with some of the required conceptual building blocks, equity is generally described as the quality of being fair, reasonable, impartial, or just (Syme et al, 1999; Sajor & Ongsakul, 2007; Kirjan, 2012; Perreault, 2014; Wong & Srikantha, 2014,   4 INSTITUTE FOR RESOURCES, ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA  Zwarteveen & Boelens, 2014). In the context of social policy, equity often has two principal components – proportionality and egalitarianism. Proportionality (or vertical equity) implies that individuals derive benefits according to the degree of effort they put in while egalitarianism or horizontal equity implies equal treatment for everyone (Syme et al. 1999; Wegerich, 2007). The concept of equity is also closely related to distributive justice and procedural justice where the former might relate to fairness in allocating water or providing water services while the latter relates to the regulatory and participatory processes that ensure everyone has a voice, is heard, and is treated fairly in terms of the processes through which decisions are made (see Kirjan, 2012; Lacey, 2008; Perreault, 2014; Sajor et al., 2007; Syme et al., 1999; Whiteley et al., 2008; Wong et al., 2014). Harris et al., 2017 emphasize the importance of using a justice lens to respond to various water concerns related to access, affordability, quality, water-related hazards, or productive uses. As noted by Phansalkar (2007) and Wegerich (2007), equity has no universally accepted definition, and varies considerably across regions, cultures, and communities. This is particularly so when we differentiate equality (everyone has the same attributes or access to goods, exposure to bads, etc..), versus equity which relies more on a notion of fairness or sense of ethics – to ensure that everyone has fair and just distribution, or process, with explicit consideration to past injustice, uneven access, and other social justice concerns (see Goff & Crow, 2014; Wutich, Brewis, York, & Stotts, 2013; Greenberg, 1981 for elaboration on the difference between equity and equality). Given that equity relies on a sense of what is ethical and right, it is necessarily influenced by historical and cultural contexts, perceptions, and circumstances (Boelens, 2009; Wong et al., 2014, Zwarteveen et al., 2014). To this, Fraser (2000) adds the concept of cultural justice, which relates to the recognition that all individuals are full partners in social interaction, with the capacity and right to participate on par with other individuals in a manner that is not regulated by the institutionalized patterns of cultural value. Cultural justice deals with the acknowledgement of non-official water norms, customary patterns of organization and structures, deviant water rights, and other related values. Such considerations are related to, but not the same as, issues of participatory justice and engagement in water governance. In this regard, a holistic equity approach requires representation that includes recognition of cultural norms, coupled with the concept of fairness related to water resource distribution, and also procedural issues related to participation. In addition to contextual understandings, equity considerations are affected by a diversity of values attributed to water (Lacey, 2008; Kirjan, 2012). Aside from utilitarianism, other values such as water’s symbolic, religious, and lifestyle meanings are critical to discussions concerning equity (Whiteley et al., 2008). The equity concept also reflects temporal dimensions as it might refer to past circumstances and values the rights of present and future generations (see Kirjan, 2012; Whiteley et al., 2008). Moreover, Greenberg (1981) points out that conditions of scarcity and abundance tend to influence and generate different perceptions of fairness, even within the same community. Based on a study involving 155 undergraduates of a mid-western US university, Greenberg (1981) notes that allocations based on needs, vis-à-vis those based on equality, were perceived as fair under conditions of scarcity while the use of either criterion was perceived as fair when making allocations for abundant resources.  Echoing these   5 INSTITUTE FOR RESOURCES, ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA  findings, recent work by Wutich et al. (2013) shows that the perception of distributive justice in water rich-areas relates more with equality, while that for water-scarce areas relates more with the concept of equity.  Here, there is a sense that perhaps when water is less available, considerations related to equity might emerge as paramount. Inequities related to water are directly linked to asymmetries and imbalances in socio-economic status and political power (Phansalkar, 2007; Whiteley et al., 2008). While water scarcity may be attributed to such factors as population growth, inadequate water infrastructure, poor management, and ineffective institutional arrangements, water scarcity may also be generated by socio-political processes, through exclusion, bias, and discrimination (Mehta, 2006). Adding to the biophysical concepts of meteorological or hydrologic drought, ‘socially produced drought’ refers more centrally to the ways that drought-like conditions, or scarcity, at times occurs based on a host of socio-political or institutional factors (see Mehta, 2006; Mahanyi, 2013 for linked discussions of socially produced scarcity) – thus, directly linking conditions of water scarcity and key socio-political inequalities in particular spaces and times. Mena-Vasconez, Boelens, and Vos (2017) also notes that psychological inclination or “mimetic desire” to become like leading models (e.g. big farmers) produces subjects that try to follow the practices (i.e. water intensive crops, claims for larger water supplies) of these “mirrored successful actors”, resulting in another form of socially-manufactured water scarcity.  RURAL – URBAN EQUITY NEXUS Adding a novel dimension to the discussions outlined above, we highlight interlinked rural-urban inequities to reconsider water allocation and uses at the regional scale, attending to trade-offs and linkages between urban inequities and broader regional dynamics. Specifically, we link allocation protocols for raw water supply from the Angat Dam to considerations of key inequities observed in the context of urban domestic water provision, under two different scenarios: pre- and post-privatization of the metropolitan Manila supply system. Subscribing to Sen’s view about the difficulty of defining an ideal state of justice (Sen, 2006, 2009, 2012), we do not attempt to define the ideal state of equity in this context, but rather, analyze these scenarios in order to cast a spotlight on key inequities that are renegotiated as rural-urban water transfers and rights, shift and evolve, with simultaneous shifts in institutions responsible for water provision in the context of Metro Manila’s privatization. Acknowledging Boelens’ (2009, p. 310) notion of equity as “location-, time-, and group-specific political constructs of fairness”, we also recognize that further engagement with location specific notions of equity would be of interest for the analysis, although we are not able to attend to it in the context of this study.  Likewise, while our case study is directly connected to the other spheres of equity or social justice, we will primarily focus on the issue of distributive justice, that is, the question of socio-economic distribution and re-distribution. We now turn to our examination of multi-scalar and intra-regional trade offs, notably between rural and urban areas, as well as intra-urban inequities. Angat Dam and its water allocation protocol Completed in 1967, the Angat Dam is a 131-meter rock fill multipurpose reservoir located   6 INSTITUTE FOR RESOURCES, ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA  in a nearby province, 58 kilometers northeast of Metro Manila (MWSS, 2012a, p. 1). With a storage capacity of 850 million cubic meters of water, the dam supplies 97% of Metro Manila’s domestic water requirements, irrigates 28,000 hectares of farmland in the nearby provinces of Bulacan and Pampanga, and generates 246 megawatts of electricity (MWSS, 2012a, p.1). Functioning also as a flood control facility, water release is regulated during extreme rainfall conditions to prevent heavy flooding of low-lying communities along the Angat River.  Water for irrigation is released through four main hydroelectric turbines with a combined power output of 200 megawatts, and flows downstream to Bustos Dam and the Angat-Maasim Rivers Irrigation System before eventually reaching the farmlands see Figure 1). Domestic water supply for Metro Manila is released through five auxiliary turbines, generating 46 megawatts of electricity in the process, and flows to Ipo Dam for distribution to the treatment plants of the two private concessionaires (MWSS, 2012a, p. 1). About 97% of Metro Manila’s water supply comes from Angat Dam through a “North to South” water infrastructure system, serving the needs of 14.3 million consumers in 37 cities and municipalities (MWSS, 2012b, p.2).  Figure 1. Rural – urban water supply system  Adapted from Torio (2016). Aside from power generation, water supply from the Angat Dam is also used for irrigation and urban domestic consumption.   7 INSTITUTE FOR RESOURCES, ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA  Water supply allocation for the dam is governed by the Memorandum of Agreement on the Angat Water Protocol, signed by the reservoir’s major users and policy makers, one of which is the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System [MWSS], the government agency responsible for water and sanitation services in Metro Manila (MWSS et al., 2013). Based on this allocation protocol, the use of water from Angat Dam is governed by the principle of “priority in time of appropriation” for water coming from the same source; provided that in times of emergency, municipal and domestic use shall have priority over all other uses. Currently, such guiding principle is implemented through the Reservoir Operation Rules (Figure 2), which impose upper and lower rule curves prescribing the allocation of water among the reservoir’s various users (see Shah and Zerrifi, 2017 for a more detailed discussion on Angat Dam’s water supply allocation). Please note that this allocation protocol includes a miniscule allocation of 1.9 cubic meters per second (or only 1.4% of the total water allocation from the reservoir) for the drinking requirements of Bulacan, the province where the reservoir is located (MWSS et al., 2013, p. 7). The situation that has emerged over time is one where the drinking water needs for Metro Manila are prioritized over both productive and drinking water needs of rural residents in the Bulacan province. What must be highlighted and examined more critically in relation to the prevailing allocation protocol are scenarios when reservoir water levels are below the lower rule curve. In line with the government’s allocation policy, such scenarios, which normally occur during periods of drought, require that available water supply be reallocated (partly or in full) for Metro Manila’s urban domestic use, vis-à-vis the irrigation requirements of rural farmers. Figure 2. Operating rule curves  Adapted from: MWSS (2014a, 2014b). Above the lower rule curve, all water allocations are met. Below the lower rule curve, urban water supply is prioritized over irrigation requirements. 170175180185190195200205210215Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov DecDam Elevation, metersMonthLower Rule Curve (Till 2009) Upper Rule Curve (Till 2009)Lower Rule Curve (Post 2009) Upper Rule Curve (Post 2009)  8 INSTITUTE FOR RESOURCES, ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA  Rural irrigation water supply shortfall: a frequent occurrence  From 1968 -2010, annual water inflows into the Angat Dam were affected by the El Niño and La Nina phenomena, characterized by alternating periods of low and high inflows, respectively (Ortega, 2011, pp. 10-11). Of particular interest are the years of very low water inflows to the dam, resulting in water levels below the lower rule curve, which consequently meant supply cutbacks for irrigation water. Irrigation water supply was permitted only when the water levels rose above the lower rule curve as a result of new inflows from precipitation during the wet season. A study made by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, Nippon Koei Co. Ltd., & the University of Tokyo (2013, p. 7-27) on the volume of water allocated for irrigation from 1968 to 2010 reveals several years of water supply shortfalls for irrigation vis-à-vis the estimated mean irrigation water requirement of 600 million cubic meters per year. Figure 3 shows these deficit periods, which generally coincided with the years of actual El Niño occurrence or the year immediately thereafter.  Figure 3. Irrigation water supply vis-à-vis shortfall.  Note: MCM means million cubic meters Source: Torio (2016). Irrigation water supply shortfalls normally occur during the El Niño phenomenon or prolonged dry conditions.  During these deficit periods, water supply for irrigation was reduced by an average of 35% from the required allocation volumes, based on their approved water rights. The highest shortfall was experienced in 1998 when the outflow for irrigation was stopped for 8 months due to a severe El Niño weather event. Cropping operations were suspended from November 1997 to June 1998, resulting in losses of P968 million (US$24 million) (Pascua, 2007, p. 4). The national irrigation agency filed a claim for compensation on these losses 431346427333219455 455 437169254173267381145 145 16301002003004005006001969 1990 1992 1997 1998 2004 2005 2010Volume, MCMYearSupply Shortfall  9 INSTITUTE FOR RESOURCES, ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA  but MWSS insisted that such reallocation was due to an unforeseen and uncontrollable event and thus, was not subject to compensation under the Philippine Water Code (Pascua, 2007). As also observed by Shah and Zerriffi (2017), the allocation protocol for Angat Dam has an inherent bias against rural irrigation water supply during times of drought, arguably at a time when the farmers would be most in need of additional water supply for irrigation. When viewed solely from an economic lens, such a practice may be deemed justifiable, given that the opportunity cost for urban water during these conditions is estimated at P5.70 per cubic meter, while the cost of compensating the farmers’ foregone revenues ranges only from P1.60 to P2.90 per cubic meter (see Tabios & David, 2007, p. 127). However, we agree with Tabios and David (2007), Pascua (2007), and Shah and Zerriffi (2017) that such allocation protocols result in gross inequities for the farmers, especially when they are not compensated for  water supply reallocations and resultant lost revenue (which would also be invited by an equity perspective in the context of compensatory justice). Moreover, we argue that the level of inequity suffered by the farmers from an allocation scheme biased towards urban water supply is greater than what is has been acknowledged to date. We show this in the next sections by establishing the linkages to urban water inequities during pre- and post-privatization scenarios for water provision in metropolitan Manila. Public urban water provision: until 1997  Until 1997, the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System was the provider of water and sanitation services for Metro Manila, supplying water to around 67% of the 10.9 million people in its service area, with an average supply duration of 16 hours per day (see Table 1). During that time, the system’s non-revenue water [NRW] level (defined as volume of water lost by way of leaks and pilferage) was at 58%. This meant that out of a total daily water supply of 2.8 million cubic meters, around 1.6 million cubic meters of water were lost in the system. Such an NRW level at that time, was higher than the average for 50 Asian water utilities, which ranged from 35%- 40% (Asian Development Bank, 1997, p.3). Note that water systems with high NRW levels require larger volumes of water supply than otherwise would be required if those water utilities were operating at higher efficiencies (with low levels of system losses due to pilferage and leakage). Please note that the issue of NRW in the urban area links directly to the issue of water levels in the Angat Dam. Achieving lower NRW levels would have meant lower urban water supply requirements, which would have translated to higher volumes of water inside the dam. In turn, this would have meant more water supply for irrigation purposes or even for setting up a buffer stock that all sectors can utilize during periods of drought.        10 INSTITUTE FOR RESOURCES, ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA  Table 1. Privatization Scorecard Service Indicators 1997 2013 % Inc. / (Dec.) Pre-Privatization Post- Privatization*  Population Served (Millions) 7.3 14.9 104% Water Supply   (Million Liters/Day) 2,800 4,147 48% Non-Revenue Water 58% 26% (32%) Water Coverage** 67% 91% 24% 24-Hour Availability 67% 99% 32% Water Pressure    (@ 7 psi)  100%  Water Quality  100%  **Post-privatization data are based on the weighted average results of the operational performance of the two private concessionaires. *As a % of population served  Adapted from: Torio (2018). Typical performance scorecard for Metro Manila’s water privatization shows generally improved service levels in terms of NRW reduction, water supply availability, water pressure, and water quality.  Particularly for the years 1990, 1997, and 1998 (see Figure 3) when rural agricultural water supply  was cut by an average of 50%, lower NRW levels for the urban water system could have resulted in significantly lower water supply shortfalls, with the potential to significantly reduce losses incurred by the farmers during those periods. Linking these dimensions through the perspective of the rural-urban equity nexus, we see that inefficiencies in urban water provision, particularly infrastructural problems such as leaks, are directly linked to aggravated inequities experienced by the farmers. Even arguing from a narrow economic lens by considering the value for urban water supply, which Tabios and David (2007, p. 127) estimate to be at P5.70 per cubic meter (as opposed to P1.60 to P2.90 per cubic meter for irrigation water), such a scenario had significant consequences, given the large volume of water loss experienced in Metro Manila during those times. In this scenario, we point out that allocation rules, system inefficiencies and quality of urban infrastructure all recalibrate the rural-urban water equity nexus in complex and important ways.  As such, the issues of inequities are not simply about privileging urban users over rural uses, but rather, inequities are linked and dynamically reconfigured in myriad ways along the rural-urban divide.  Private sector provision: after 1997 Moving forward two decades after Metro Manila’s water privatization in 1997, we seek to find out whether or not this program has caused corresponding shifts with respect to rural-  11 INSTITUTE FOR RESOURCES, ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA  urban water equity connections. Many have already highlighted key inequities that often are associated with tariff increases and other changes that commonly accompany privatization, in addition to broad concerns related to the ethics of profiteering off of the delivery of needed basic services such as water (see Bakker, 2007, 2010; Budds & McGranahan; Castro, 2007; Hall & Lobina, 2007; Harris & Roa-Garcia, 2013; Swyngedouw, 2005). However, our evaluation of equity issues related to Metro Manila’s water privatization reveals additional complicated and ambiguous outcomes. Among other documented shifts, the private concessionaires have managed to increase service coverage to 91% in the metropolitan area, and have reduced the NRW level to 26% (Table 1). Likewise, in areas where infrastructural networks are in place, the private concessionaires have been able to supply high pressure and good quality water on nearly a 24-hour basis. We find these major shifts hold significant potential for reduced inequities in the linked system (as indicated above), while at once contributing to persistent or even aggravated inequities in this context.  Conditions of inequity related to Metro Manila’s urban domestic water provision generally manifest under scenarios where water remains unaffordable for those who are connected and access remains difficult for those who are not. In both scenarios, the urban poor suffer the most from the consequences. Torio’s (2016, 2018) research on the Metro Manila water privatization provides insights on these lingering equity concerns for poor households under varying conditions of access and affordability. In brief, low-income households in areas not covered by the private concessionaires’ networks (mostly in the city’s southern peripheries), have consumption levels below the minimum allowable limit but pay the highest price of water among all unconnected households (Torio, 2016, pp. 117-118). Until property rights issues are settled, households in informal settlements within the networked areas must rely on services provided by community-based operators (sub-contractors for the concessionaires), at times paying 10 times more for the last phase of water delivery (Torio, 2016, p.133). For low-income households able to acquire direct service connections from the private concessionaires, the experience of nearly 24 hours supply of high pressure, high quality water has brought a two-fold increase in consumption, increasing water expenditures from 6% to 11% of average income (Torio, 2016, p.115), well above the maximum allowable limit of 5% (see World Bank, 2008; Fankhauser & Tepic, 2007).  Even with improved operating efficiencies, these examples make it clear that safeguards remain necessary to ensure equitable water provision for all urban consumers. Without equitable urban water provision, water flows are often in the direction of rich households able to pay the increasing cost of water, especially when concerns related to access, affordability, quality and other dimensions continue to plague poor households. Based on existing rural-urban equity linkages, under such a scenario, the diverted water supply of the farmers will be flowing to the taps of the high income urban households. Again, even from a narrow economic lens, the urban domestic water supply with an economic value of P5.70 per cubic meter would benefit mostly the rich urban consumers, while the farmers suffer economic losses. Thus, there is a need to insure that urban water provision is equitable, especially under conditions where the farmers are not properly and justly compensated for lost revenues.  Note that under public sector provision, the water allocation inequity suffered by the   12 INSTITUTE FOR RESOURCES, ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA  farmers is exacerbated by high levels of urban water wastage (with high economic value) resulting from operational inefficiency. On the other hand, under private operators, the farmers’ inequity is magnified if urban water provision is inequitable, as only the rich urban households benefit from the use of the highly valued water. From both efficiency and equity viewpoints, we argue that both scenarios are unacceptable. Yet, oftentimes, they remain invisible to policy makers and as such, generally remain unaddressed or unattended to.  CONCLUSION: THE CASE FOR BROADER EQUITY REVIEWS  In this article, we have made a case for broader equity reviews that are multi-scale and multi-actor, given that conditions of inequity manifest in different forms, with shifting linkages, over different geographical areas, scales and time frames. We suggest that Philippine policy makers re-examine the existing allocation protocols for Angat Dam based on a more holistic and comprehensive view of the equity issues, with particular attention to rural users, but also in ways that engage the interlinked dimensions that emerge and shift across the rural-urban waterscape. Such an approach would help policy makers realize that inequities in water governance are not confined solely to the geographical area of Metro Manila, nor that of Bulacan, but that key resonances, linkages, and shifts exist across these spaces – what occurs in Metro Manila reverberates with equity consequences in the nearby provinces, whether due to considerable losses of the system, or unfavorable conditions of access and affordability for poor urban households. Without a comprehensive equity review to drive water supply allocation policy, it is likely that rural farmers and impoverished and underserved urban residents will continue to suffer. Many of these inequities are worsened by ongoing inefficiencies in the urban system. As such, our analysis offers a corrective to analyses that often position equity as a counter to efficiency foci—instead, we have shown that ongoing system inefficiencies often propagate and worsen inequities, suggesting that these priorities and goals are linked in complex and ambiguous ways. While clearly a sole focus on efficiency often precludes an equity analysis, equity dimensions may also be served by improved system efficiencies. In the long-term, the stability and reliability of water supply for the rural farmers presents itself as a major policy issue for the government. Towards this end, Philippine policy makers must consider building a new reservoir or any related infrastructure that ensures irrigation water supply according to the farmers’ water rights, as stated in their water permits. Doing so is critical to the maintenance of their livelihood, and all the more so if “dryer than average years” are expected to be increasingly common in the coming decades. As well, it is likely that a broader equity perspective would also invite consideration of alternative livelihood activities for the farmers, rather than sole focus on water supply (see Shah, 2015 for a more extensive discussion on this mitigation strategy for Bulacan).   Another consideration that comes to light with an equity focus are very real concerns related to procedural justice – concerns that are critical to rural farmers, and the urban and rural poor alike. It is clear from the allocation rules, and also from an analysis of the governance of Metro Manila’s water system that there are few if any opportunities for users to participate in decisions related to pricing, irrigation supply, or domestic water   13 INSTITUTE FOR RESOURCES, ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA  needs. At the same time, we acknowledge that there are other critical aspects of equity that we have barely touched on in relation to water allocation and use in Metro Manila, such as cultural justice, gender equity, intra-rural water allocation, and other equally important issues. While these issues further highlight the need for a broader equity perspective, as we have suggested, some of the precise concerns therein are beyond the scope of the current analysis. We hope that other academics and social justice advocates will continue research on these topics in order to help drive policy towards more equitable conditions. 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