Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Water Problem of Cebu (Part 2)

by Anton Antonio
May 26, 2015

What’s going on?  While there is flooding in Texas, USA, about a thousand people in India have died because of extremely hot weather condition… and we, Filipinos, are praying fervently for rain.

The ABS-CBN News Central Visayas Network came up with a news item with the title: “Cebu Under State of Calamity Due to Drought.”  (Please click on this link:  http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/regions/05/26/15/cebu-under-state-calamity-due-drought.) Towns and cities in the island province has been urging the Provincial Government of Cebu to push for the declaration since the weak El Nino has already dried up many farm lands and depleted water supply.  The protracted dry spell this year has worsen the water supply situation in Cebu.

The Philippines, being an agricultural economy, is largely dependent on water for its food supply.  Cebu, next to Metro Manila, is the biggest metropolis especially in terms of population and number of households.  This makes Cebu one of the very vulnerable cities when it comes to water requirement in the light of climate-related water shortages. 

Water shortages are more feared by metro dwellers since their water supply come from water utilities providers.  This new item from ABS-CBN suddenly reminded me of a blog I published in October 2014.  (Please click on this link: http://antonantonio.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-water-problem-of-cebu.html.)  It also got me thinking again of the possible causes and solutions to environmental problems like this.  Here is a repost of that blog:

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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ABS-CBN News Central Visayas. “Cebu under state of calamity due to drought”. Retrieved on May 26, 2015 from http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/regions/05/26/15/cebu-under-state-calamity-due-drought

Antonio, A. C., (2014).  “The Water Problem of Cebu.”  Retrieved on May 26, 2015 from http://antonantonio.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-water-problem-of-cebu.html

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