WATER divining, at first glance, does sound as quack as the “profession” of the more popular tambalans or albularyos.

But belief in the practice is not what is wrong with the announcement by Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña to hire “water diviner” Choleng Legaspi’s services in the identification of possible water sources in the city’s upland barangays.

In an age when science has an explanation to everything found in this world, accepting an 80-year-old’s superiority over well educated water experts would be stretching things too far.

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It works

What may not have worked in favor of water diviners is the word “divine,” which attaches a supernatural explanation to a practice that could be viewed in a practical sense.

One can liken this to the fact that science has yet to fully explain how acupuncture, which has been practiced for centuries in China, works.

But acupuncture does work, and that is all that matters to the Chinese (who cares about its full scientific explanation, anyway?).

Lola Choleng apparently figured correctly in the past where probable water sources were, leading the mayor to say “she’s very accurate and I trust her 100 per cent until she makes a mistake.”

Who can argue with success?

Water sources

But while it may not be laughable to believe in water divining, bloating its contribution to the effort to solve the impending water problem in Cebu is.

When Osmeña said she trusts Lola Choleng more than experts, like those people in University of San Carlos Water Resource Center, he is providing us with the real reason why government has refused to map out long-term plans to ensure adequate water supply for the island.

The point is, El Niño or no El Niño, water is a real concern for Cebu, especially if it wants to continue growing economically.

Yet government officials, like Osmeña, continue to downplay the need and attempt to find an easy solution to a problem whose solution is more complicated than the mere act of water diviners pinpointing possible water sources.

The mayor should realize that, in the end, Lola Choleng can only be effective if there are still water sources in Cebu to pinpoint.