The Philippines is a country rich in natural resources and surrounded by bodies of water. But for various reasons, not all Filipinos enjoy these resources, including water.
Statistics show that 1 in 10 Filipinos still don’t have access to decent water sources. Months ago, the Duterte administration told us that we were on the verge of a water shortage. If these still hold true today, it is not good for the Philippines as the ongoing pandemic demands cleanliness and hygiene at all times.
Here are the reasons why the country is still experiencing a water crisis:
The World Health Organization (WHO) said that climate change has something to do with the water crisis. The high ambient temperature caused by El Niño brought down the water levels of dams to critical points.
The classic “high demand, low supply” problem. There are about 100 million people in the Philippines, 5 million of whom do not have access to safe water and another 9 million do not have access to improved sanitation, according to global non-profit organization Water.org.
Yes, the country does have rich sources of water, may it be on the surface or underground, but consumers have already been using over 50 percent of it, according to the National Water Resources Board (NWRB).
What’s worse, a study also shows that 11 rivers in the country have already been sucked out, namely, rivers in Cagayan, Agno, Pampanga, Pasig, Laguna, Bicol, Jalaur, Cagayan de Oro, Tagoloan, Tagum, Ligubanon, Davao, and Agus.
Non-consumptive use, on the other hand, covers about 60% to power and about 30% goes to irrigation.
The current pandemic has also brought a surge in demand for water as it has become vital for hygienic and other essential purposes.
Water pollution and contamination
The increase in population and the decreasing quantity of water supply contribute to the increasing solid waste management problems. NWRB bared that several water systems are getting polluted, especially in highly urbanized areas. The decline in water quality affects the delivery of adequate water supply.
Delay in water infrastructure projects
Manila Water stated that water infrastructure projects were delayed for some time, such as the construction of a wastewater treatment plant in Cardona, Rizal, and the Kaliwa Dam in Tanay, Rizal.
Delay in water infrastructure projects also means a lack of water supply. For instance, Angat Dam can only draw 4 billion liters a day from its tunnels and aqueducts, which is not enough to cover the overall population. The obvious solution is to create more aqueducts, but such construction projects take several years to finish.