Philippines - COWD, VEI and PAWD's masterclass 'Emergency Response Planning for Water Districts'


In April and May 2021, the Cagayan de Oro Water District (COWD) and VEI jointly facilitated a masterclass on “Emergency Reponse Planning (ERP) for Water Districts”. The online masterclass was organized in a combined effort between VEI’s 3 projects in the Philippines: the FDW projects in Cagayan de Oro and Cebu, and the WaterWorX project PEWUP. 106 Water Districts from all over the Philippines registered to attend the webinar.

The goals of the masterclass were to: 

  1. Provide theoretical guidance and practical tips to formulate a climate disaster ERP, keep it updated and train staff in its use.
  2. Explain how to perform a Vulnerability Assessment, which feeds into the ERP.
  3. Familiarize WDs on how the ERP operationalizes during a disaster.
  4. Learn from the experiences of other Philippines Water Districts with disasters and with drafting ERPs.

The ERP masterclass consisted of 4 webinars, taking place between April 28 and May 26. In between the webinars, the participants were challenged to complete homework assignments related to their own water systems, and received feedbacks on these from the facilitators. There were 6 speakers from COWD, one from VEI and one from Evides. Throughout the Masterclass, the speakers made reference to the experiences of COWD with severe flooding events Sendong (2011) and Vinta (2017), and how COWD’s ERP developed, making use of the USAID’s “Toolkit for Climate Resilient Water Utilities”, which can be downloaded via:

As a result of the ERP Masterclass, numerous participating WD’s have started updating their ERP’s and Disaster Risk Reduction Management Plans (DRRMPs). One Water District in Luzon even drafted a brand-new ERP, not having had one before. These ERP’s will support the Philippines water supply sector to be more prepared, proactive and resilient when disasters strike.

As the COWD General Manager puts it, “Our experience is a story to tell for everyone to believe that A GOOD PLAN IS THE BEST ROUTE TO RECOVERY...”