Editorial: Proud of our fresh water, aren’t we?-A A +A
Thursday, March 14, 2013
DABAWENYOS always encounter it, a tagline claiming Davao water as the second best in the world. That was sometime in the 1990s, but we never seem tired of spreading the word. Except that, that is all we seem to be spreading.
We haven’t even as one community concerned about the future asked how our water is now, two decades later. We cannot even for our collective lives pass and implement the Water Code of Davao City and are bent on amending the Watershed Development Code even before this can be implemented, all because it prohibits any development in identified watershed areas. Concerned, aren’t we? Most likely concerned for our own pockets.
We’re content with having been named as having the second best water in the world 20 years ago, as if that “best water” will wait for us while we denude our forest, sell our watersheds and convert all these to plantations, and then profess our love for the environment by caging every wild animal we can get our hands on, so that everyone can see and gawk.
After two decades of bragging, maybe it is time to check on how our water sources are doing because no less than the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is not optimistic about the future of water.
In the study, “Asian Water Development Outlook 2013” done by the ADB and the Asia-Pacific Water Forum (APWF), released just this month, it noted that more than 75% of the countries in the Asia and the Pacific are suffering from serious lack of water security.
“While the Asia-Pacific region has become an economic powerhouse, it is alarming that no developing country in the region can be considered ‘water-secure’,” said Bindu Lohani, ADB’s Vice President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development, in the press release about the study.
Guess what, again? We are in a developing country and this ADB executive is saying that NO developing country in Asia and Pacific can be considered as ‘water secure’. Do we still have reason to gloat about our second best water in the world without doing anything to ensure its sustainability? Not one, he says.
Thus Lohani added, “Countries must urgently improve water governance through inspired leadership and creative policymaking.”
Two stark realities are outlined by the study:
(1) sharply rising inequality in access to water and sanituation;
(2) increasingly precarious state of rivers.
We still have the water from up there, all right. Except that up there stands very little trees to ensure water’s continued existence. Down here, with pumped them all up with sewage; sewage in its rawest form.
Add to that the insecurity posed by climate change, wherein we don’t even know how long we can keep our heads above the water – poppulted, saline, undrinkable water that is.
“Water supports health and livelihoods, grows our food, powers our industry, and cools our generating plants, and these different uses can no longer be seen in isolation from each other,” said Ravi Narayanan, Vice-Chair of the APWF Governing Council. “Unless these competing needs are balanced, water security will remain elusive, undermining development gains and the quality of life for billions of people in the region, especially the poor.”
Down here, we haven’t even thought of how much water we are throwing down the drain as we wash our clothes and flush our poo with clean, potable water dubbed the second best water in the world.
Whatever happened to that rainwater harvesting ordinance, by the way? Imagine the amount of rain we can prevent from drowning our villages if we all gather them to water our plants and flush our toilets instead of using our crystal clear drinking water.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 14, 2013.