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PRRD did not use Moses staff to draw water

LETTERS FROM DAVAO
By: Jun Ledesma
PRRD did not use Moses staff to draw water
THE acute shortage of potable water in many parts of the National Capital Region has severely affected the daily norm of metropolitan lifestyle and routine in scores of barangays where the spigots had ran dry. The long queues of people waiting for fire trucks that had been used to ration water are pathetic sites. Tempers are flaring and for a while, some opposition candidates were quick to blame the Duterte government for the problem. Some quarters in an oratio imperata incantation invoked rains to come. It did but it fell in the dry lands of Mindanao. The sick critics should know the import of this heavenly message.

But that is Metro Manila. We are seeing a stark contrast in Davao City but before we should even think of celebrating, we have to bear in mind that as far as water resource is concerned we must remember that refrain “nothing is forever”. Dabawenyos must absorb lesson from what is happening in Metro Manila and what had happened in Cebu and Zamboanga. Over-extraction of water in Cebu causing the irreversible tragedy of intrusion of saline water. In Zamboanga City the unhampered rape of the trees in its watersheds virtually deprived its vital aquifers and rivers of recharge areas.

The concentration of industries in the National Capital Region is now bearing the ugly consequences. Massive influx of population has constricted the movements brought about by horrendous traffic. Bad planning or the absence of it now rears the catastrophic shortage of water. I heard that MWSS is contemplating to reactivate its deep wells.

They should be reminded that over-extraction of ground water could lead to subsidence, a situation where the ground or even concrete surfaces may sink. There was a time when we were made to believe that the coastal water in Manila Bay had risen for over a meter because the ice cap in the north pole had melted. Nobody dared to say that the cause of it was over-extraction of water in the area. There were no tall buildings then but they stop drawing water from those production wells when sea water displaced the fresh water from the affected aquifers.

It’s a universal truth: man will start to value some the abundant resources he wantonly wasted and never cared for until he lost them. The critical protected watershed in Luzon where important rivers meander and discharge water to the various dams where Maynilad and Manila Waters concessionaires derive their supplies to millions of residential and industrial consumers had progressively diminished.

This is the reason why despite the many typhoons that spawned rains and caused devastating floods we have not observed sustained levels of water in those rivers. Without vegetation in the recharge areas in the watershed, rain water will just cascade quickly to lower ground. Remember that a tree can store several gallons of water which it discharges underground through its roots.

Here in Davao City I have seen the abundance of spring water in Tamugan River. Why? Because Mt. Tipolog which is its recharge area is heavily forested. The city’s vital aquifers in Dumoy and Toril are being recharged by the watersheds in Mt Talomo. But the watersheds are thinning out and the symptoms of this are the flashfloods we which we are recently experiencing even with just a slight rain.

The bulk water project now being undertaken by Apo Agua Infrastructura and the Davao City Water District is one of the legacy projects of Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte before he bowed out as Mayor of Davao. He had seen to it that partnerships and joint ventures were sealed. The big-ticket project will make use of the surface water of Panigan and Tamugan rivers. It is now being nurtured by City Mayor Inday Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio thru the watchful eye of the Water Management Council which she chairs.

It takes foresight and determination to have this bulk water project come into fruition. This crucial project is shielded from political partisanship. In the case of the water supply in Metro Manila, former Pres. Ferdinand Marcos had the Kaliwa dam project up to its in implementation stage. This was however overtaken by events and aborted by the Cory Aquino administration because they hated the man.

President Duterte had revived the project this time with funds coming from China. But as quickly as the contract was concluded, the new generation of critics that still has a fixation on Cory’s myth assailed the project claiming in stark idiocy that the Japanese offer is cheaper than that of China. The Japanese firm proposes to put up a weir while the Chinese contractor is setting up a dam. There is a whale of difference there and let’s leave that to the critics to figure out.

Some nit wits in the political opposition attempted to blame the water shortage on Duterte until they realized that while pointing an accusing finger on the President, their other fingers are on them. On the other hand, some MWSS officials parried the blame from the concessionaires and had the gall to say that government was to be blamed.

When Duterte ordered them to release water to Manila Water to mitigate the problem, they complied grudgingly but gave a parting shot saying President Duterte is misinformed. Digong did not do a Moses. He does not have a staff to tap for water to copiously flow from a rock. I guess he just rained the MWSS board members and the concessionaires with expletives during a closed-door meeting in Malacañang and water was miraculously restored to starving residents serviced by Manila Water.

We have seen it all and have said it all. But we Dabawenyos cannot be lackadaisical over the importance of our own water resources. We draw abundant water from our aquifers as though there is no tomorrow.

Our leaders, however, had foresight and had planned ahead. We have to conserve, preserve our watersheds and this demands that protected watersheds especially those adjacent to Panigan and Tamugan must be free from any form of industrial or agricultural development.

I hope that the coming legislative body, which will be chaired by Sebastian Duterte, will have the will to enforce this edict. I hate to see the day, although that would be beyond my lifetime, when people will scream ...TUBIG!!!

PRRD did not use Moses staff to draw water PRRD did not use Moses staff to draw water Reviewed by AsianPolicy.Press on 12:42:00 AM Rating: 5

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