July 26, 2010

Philippines: Forgotten law never enforced can solve water crisis, floodings

Filed under: Asia, water management — Tags: — inece @ 2:54 pm

Flood Waters in the Philippines by flickr user Edward Allen L. Lim

An article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer quotes INECE EPC Member Tony Oposa in asserting that promoting full compliance with an existing law that requires the development of reservoirs to collect rainwater could help solve the country’s ongoing water crisis and control regular flooding troubles.

“The water shortage and rationing that we are again going through has been coming for a long time. We are being flooded during the rainy season, yet we are undergoing severe water shortage. And all because we forgot, or simply neglected to implement, a simple law that requires the construction of rainwater catchment/collectors in every barangay,” [Mr. Oposa] said.

He described the most simple rainwater catchment system as a specially prepared hole in the lowest level of a vacant lot to capture rain water from the sky or from the ground. If properly designed, ground catchment systems can collect large quantities of rainwater.

Oposa said harvested rainwater can provide supplemental water for nonpotable household requirements, mitigate flooding by providing a receptacle for excess water and increase soil moisture levels for urban greenery, thus providing areas for recreation.

But by far the most important benefit is the replenishment of and improvement in the quality of ground water from where the country draws its supply of drinking water, he said.

In June 2009, Oposa and the Global Legal Action on Climate Change wrote to the DPWH inquiring into the implementation of the law.

In its reply dated Aug. 6, 2009, the DPWH said that from January to June 2009, it had put up only four demonstration rainwater collectors.

The law mandates that there should be at least 100,000 rainwater collectors and catchment areas all over the country by 1991.

With the number of basins already built by the DPWH, compliance with the RA 6716 is actually at 0.004 percent, said Oposa.

For the full article, visit the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

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