Monday, October 13, 2014

The Water Problem of Cebu

by Antonio C. Antonio
October 7, 2014

The problem of diminishing water supply does not exclusively belong to the Island of Cebu.  But to highlight this particular environmental concern, let us focus on this island province.  Cebu is one of the premiere provinces in the Philippines today in terms of economic development.  It is next to Metro Manila when it comes to economic activities.  Cebu is the industrial hub of the Visayan island group as it has also risen to be one of the preferred tourist destinations on account of its friendly people, good food, beautiful beaches and rich history and culture.  Unknown to Cebuanos themselves, Cebu has continuously been saddled with the lack of water for years now and, at present, experts and environmentalists say Cebu is most likely in the throes of losing water in the next few years.

There are over 4.2 million people living in Cebu Province’s three largest cities; Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue.  The population density in these cities is almost 800 persons per square kilometer.  The estimated average drinking water requirement of a human being is 3 liters per day; therefore, the estimated drinking water requirement for these three cities alone is 12.6 million liters per day.  This is only the drinking water requirement outside of other daily water needs like bathing, household cleaning, garden watering, etc.  Computing for the total daily water requirement could be mind boggling.

People take the water supply problem for granted rather than treating water like a precious resource.  Systems losses, through leakages alone, present a big problem for water utility providers.  The wasteful use of water on the part of residents also contributes in a larger scale to the problem.  In Cebu, the problem becomes more critical since 80 percent of the water supply is pumped out of the ground therefore straining the aquifer in the island province.  To address the water shortage problem, the following concerns should be seriously looked into:

  1. The meteoric rise in population;
  2. Deforestation caused by land use conversion;
  3. Pollution of water systems and aquifer;
  4. Widespread education on the need to conserve water resource; and,
  5. Sustainable water conservation plans and programs.
Again, the water problem or the shortage of this important resource does not exclusively belong to the Island of Cebu.  The above-mentioned concerns prescribe looking at the water shortage problem in a wider perspective to solve the Philippine water supply situation rather than a myopic view of the water problems of Cebu.

Just my little thoughts…

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