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Mauricio Tobon

Mauricio Tobon

United Nations Office of Project Services , USA

Title: Mentoring of six Philippine water districts on climate change vulnerability assessments

Biography

Mauricio Tobon is a registered Professional Engineer and is presently President of Tobon Engineering a consulting firm specializing in water engineering and climate change. He is also a Senior Infrastructure Advisor for the United Nations Office of Project Services (UNOPS).

During the past year, he volunteered to serve as a mentor to 6 water districts in the Philippines for the development of Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments and Climate Resilient Business Plans. Prior to that, he was a mentor to Manila and Maynilad Water Concessionaires on utilizing the WEAP program for climate change adaptation.In addition, he volunteers as a professional mentor to the University of Florida Student Chapter of Engineers Without Borders for a water project in Nepal and Rutgers University for a water project in Tanzania. He also serves on the Technical Advisory Committee for Engineers without Borders.

During his career, which spans over 25 years, he has worked both as a consultant and in local government in positions relating to water and wastewater utilities engineering and management. He is a native of south Florida and holds both a Bachelor and Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Florida.

Abstract

The Philippines has been ranked globally as the third country most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change i.e. disaster risks and natural hazards. Located along the western part of the Pacific Ocean, the Philippines is rendered highly susceptible to monsoons, thunderstorms and typhoons. As an archipelago, the Philippines has an increased exposure to storms surges and sea level rise.

 

Thus, water management in the face of a changing climate regime becomes an extremely complex endeavor that is challenging the way water and wastewater utilities and service providers perform their tasks. Policy makers need to better understand the situation for them to consider a wide range of factors related to water availability and quality. i.e. increasing water demand due to population growth, probability of intensified extreme weather events and sea level rise.

 

It is against this backdrop that last year, USAID’s Be Secure program embarked on the implementation of a twinning partnership between the Florida Climate Water Alliance

(FCWA) as mentor, and the Philippine Association of Water Districts (PAWD), specifically its Community of Practice on Climate Change (PAWD-CoP-CC) as recipients. The core members of PAWD-CoP-CC are composed of: Cagayan de Oro Water District; Leyte Metro Water District; Metro Iloilo Water District; Metro Cotabato Water District; Isabela City Water District and Zamboanga City Water District.

FWCA, the mentor, is a stakeholder-scientist partnership committed to increasing the relevance of climate science data and tools at relevant time and space scales to support decision-making in water resource management, planning and supply operations in Florida. FWCA Projects contribute to assessing and developing relevant climate data and tools and ensuring their usefulness to water supply and resource planning. FWCA collaborators include six major public water supply utilities, three water management districts in Florida, local government representatives and several academic organizations.

The objective of the twinning partnership is to strengthen the capacities of PAWD’s CoPCC core group members through assistance in the development of vulnerability assessments (VA) in the context of present climate variability, extreme weather events and uncertain climate futures.