The United Nations appears to be a notch more concerned about the progressive scarcity of clean water than about global warming.
A WATER crisis is threatening the world, and the Philippines, although surrounded by oceans of water, is not immune to it. Cebu and other cities in the country are already experiencing water shortage. As a matter of fact, the United Nations appears to be a notch more concerned about the progressive scarcity of clean water than about global warming. And rightfully so, because water is life, and no water means no life on earth. It is conceivable that water, rather than oil, will be the cause of future wars around the world.
The Philippine archipelago, made up of 7,107 islands, is located in southeastern Asia, between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea, east of Vietnam. The Philippines has a population of 91,077,287 and an adult literacy rate of 92.6 percent. Only about 85percent has access to safe drinking water, the remaining 15 percent, which constitutes the 40 percent who are under the poverty line, does not.
Energy conservation is an essential environmental policy. While water has no calorie, it is, practically speaking, a form of “energy”. Water conservation is taken very seriously in the well-developed countries like the United States and in European countries, where restaurants no longer serve water automatically but on request, and where hotels encourage water saving measures besides electrical power conservation, with a sign requesting unused towels be left on the shelves, etc. Desert cities, like Las Vegas, and those in other parts of the world, water conservation consciousness and practice are part of children’s education and the daily life of the people. It only makes sense. Why waste water, or anything valuable for that matter, at all?
There are “three main plans to institute, which include water conservation, water justice and water democracy,” according to Maude Barlow, co-founder of the Blue Planet Project and a vocal advocate of clean water for all, “in order for our planet to avert a catastrophe regarding this crisis that, according to the United Nations, should be our top priority.” In her book, entitled The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for Right to Water, Barlow points out that “access to clean water is a human right,” and exhorted the global community “to see beyond the borders to the moral courage necessary to conserve and share this precious resource, as well as working on a treaty like the one we hope to see regarding the climate crisis that sets goals for conservation, sharing of resources, providing technology necessary to developing countries that helps them with conserving through agriculture, infrastructure, and basic education.”
Water crisis is already a reality and a nightmare among 15 percent of all families in the Philippines who do not have access to safe drinking water, 28 percent of them also do not have sanitary toilets. As a result, waterborne illnesses are a major cause of infections in the country. Other countries around the world are also in potential peril.
Water harvesting and conservation are already a practical and beneficial technology in a few rural areas in the Philippines. One of them, the “Water Partners” program in the Baranggay Villahermosa near Cebu, on Camotes Island, started in 2003. The local government and the townspeople share the cost of running and maintaining the program. The 278 households (1368 people) in that town are among the pioneers in this field and are very happy with the system.
Simply put, rainwater could be harvested from rooftops, from land surface or rock catchments and collected in pots, jars, barrels, etc., or in a more sophisticated reservoir like underground check dams, for future use.
Water harvesting was practiced in the 9th or 10th century in the rural areas of South and Southeast Asia, and for almost 2000 years in Thailand. According to UNEP, 1982, “about 40 000 well storage tanks, in a variety of different forms, were constructed between 1970 and 1974 using a technology which stores rainwater and storm water runoff in ponds of various sizes. A thin layer of red clay is generally laid on the bottom of the ponds to minimize seepage losses. Trees, planted at the edges of the ponds, help to minimize evaporative losses from the ponds.”
This centuries-old technology used by ancient civilization still offers our modern world of today a simple and practical way for almost every household or town to minimize the adverse effects of the predicted water crisis. Needless to say, water conservation (the wise and judicious use of water) is an essential part of the solution. The Filipino ingenuity in improving on this technology might even open up great business opportunities for the our own engineers.
The popular systems have three major components: the catchment area, the collection device, and the conveyance system. An inexpensive filtration device is a fabric sack, used to remove particles before water enters the storage reservoir. A small chlorine dosage pump may also be used to sterilize the water. While rain-water linked illnesses have been reported to be few and insignificant, a treatment and filtration system may be added to ensure the water is safe for drinking. Boiling rainwater, and throwing away mineral sediments, is certainly a practical alternative, as a resort.
Crisis or not, rainwater harvesting and conservation today is a prudent and easy way to collect water for general use, help in protecting our environment, and, at the same time, save on our water bills too. Water is essential to life. Why waste it?
With the looming water crisis, it behooves governments and private sectors of all countries around the globe to formulate national policies to address the issue before an actual crisis dries up our wells and annihilate all living forms on earth. An intelligent, well-structured, pre-emptive, and prompt strategy today might spell the difference between survival and extinction of all life on this planet tomorrow.
Source: Business Insight Malaya
An excellent article which touches on many important issues surrounding the impending water crisis. Education is a key factor; not only for children but for adults too. Many adults around the world were not taught about water conservation as children- it wasn’t seen as an important topic then. Harvesting rainwater is an ancient idea; modern technology has removed the visible link between rain water collection and our taps. As explained, rainwater harvesting can be simple or complex. Water Rhapsody‘s rainwater system is slightly more complex than a rainwater tank under the gutters yet robust and reliable, requiring very little maintenance. One of the many advantages of our rainwater system is that the water tank can be placed anywhere, out of sight. All Water Rhapsody water conservation systems are environmentally sound and are installed by us too. Pre-empt water shortages in your area by installing water tanks and becoming water self-sufficient.