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.

These were bared today by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje who said that the nationwide celebration of WWD 2012 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 this year’s activities would focus on increasing public 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 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 the goods and services consumed or produced,” he explained.

Dubbed “Water Knowledge Fair”, the water summit at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel in Mandaluyong City 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.

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 during the “Philippines Walks for Water” event at the Quirino Grandstand. 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.

This activity will also be highlighted by the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) among the Department of Public Works, Department of Agriculture and the DENR for convergence efforts in managing the country’s river systems.

Invited officials of all partner agencies, from both public and private sectors, are also expected to sign on a “commitment wall”, pledging to act together for continued and sustainable water supply.

Other activities to be jointly implemented by the DENR and its partner agencies in the run up towards the World Water Day celebration include the following:

On March 16, students will engage in an on-the-spot painting contest at the DENR Social Hall in Quezon City. The event, to be held in collaboration with the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Autism Society of the Philippines, will have the theme “Katubigan Pangalagaan! Para sa Tiyak na Masaganang Hapag Kainan”. The contest is open to grades 5 and 6 students from public and private schools, with a “Special Art Category” for students with autism.

The DENR will also open the Philippine Water Week celebration on March 19 with an exhibit at the agency’s main lobby in Quezon City. The exhibit will showcase winning entries of the 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.

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

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