I DON'T know whether to laugh or to just shake my head in disbelief. But that was my initial reaction to the news that the Cebu City Agriculture Department (CAD) would be building 75 water catchment systems in 28 mountain barangays to mitigate the effects of summer.
It has got to be pulling my leg.
Has the CAD been outside lately? I hate to break it to City Agriculturist Joelito Baclayon, but the month of March has already started, which, in this part of the world, usually signals the beginning of the dry season.
Okay. There has been some precipitation in the last couple of days but only because over the weekend I wrote about how hot it has been. And trust me, every time I write about how hot it is, it rains the following day. And vice versa.
It appears the weather likes to go out of its way to prove me wrong. Which, in the scheme of things, is all right by me because in the end I achieve what I set out to do and that is, in this case, get a break from a two-week dry spell.
But I digress. So where was I? Oh yes...
According to Baclayon, the water catchments will augment the water impounding project the CAD implemented last year to ensure that our farmers will have enough water for crops.
I don’t question the intention. I think our farmers deserve all the help they can get, considering they are the source of our daily sustenance.
But I have a problem with the timing.
You see, the CAD has yet to build the water catchments. And although the weather bureau Pagasa has not declared the start of summer, we are already on the precipice of the season.
Just look around you.
But hey, maybe it knows something I don’t. Maybe it believes that by building water catchments during the summer, the rain will come.
However, that also means CAD is at the mercy of the elements. Any water that will fall from the sky during the implementation of the P30-million project that does not get stored in the impounding facility will run off to the lowlands.
In the meantime, Baclayon did not say exactly when construction of the project will start or how long it will take. But based on experiences with government-initiated projects—it took the City more than a year to cement less than 100 meters of J. Urgello St. in Barangay Sambag 1— farmers should reap the benefits of the catchment systems in the middle of the rainy season.
When they most need them.