Water for all
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
Department of Environment and Natural Resources undersecretary Demetrio Ignacio recently revealed to the leaders and members of the Pampanga Association of Water Districts that 20 percent of our population, or roughly 19 million Filipinos, still do not have access to water.
This is ironic because the Philippines gets plenty of water from rain that is stored in the ground, in 421 major rivers and 79 lakes, giving us 421-billion cubic meters of water resources and we currently consume less than half of these resources. Ignacio says a key problem is our inability to distribute excess water to where they are needed, when they are needed because of poor infrastructure for storing and distributing water.
Water pollution and the sorry state of our watersheds, as evidenced by the reduction of the country’s forest cover to only 24 percent of our land area, making it the second lowest in Southeast Asia, next only to Singapore that practically has no forest, also compounds the problem.
The DENR official says that the lack of storage and distribution facilities is jointly being addressed by the Department of Interior and Local Government, The Department of Public Works and Highways, the Department of Health and the National Anti-Poverty Commission and that the DENR is working on improving our endangered watersheds through the ambitious National Greening Program that intends to plant 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares in six years.
We can say that we are fortunate that while other countries are already foreseeing problems with their water supply, our problem is still mostly in the storage and distribution of water. As our government focuses on making water available to all Filipinos, it should also find creative ways to ensure that future generations do not have to worry about it as well.*