The cartoonist Larry Alcala created many unforgettable characters for “komiks.” The waste artist, Asiong Aksaya (“Wasteful Asiong”), currently comes to mind because his antics reinforce the realization that actions incur consequences, especially for resources that are far from finite.
In the Feb. 1, 1979 issue of the “komiks” strip in issue no. 858 of the “Tagalog Klasiks,” Asiong is squirting water with a hose on the street outside his home. When a neighbor comments about the water being wasted, Asiong replies that he is watering the street because it is so dusty.
When his neighbor observes that Asiong is watering his garden morning and afternoon, the latter replies that he needs to as the water quickly dries in the heat of the day.
His neighbor gives up and says in parting that they must be conserving water to prepare for the coming drought. The next day, Asiong is back at the roadside, using a hose to spray thick dark liquid on the road.
I replaced the water with gasoline because you, my friend, have pointed out that we should not waste water, says Mr. Asiong Aksaya to his flabbergasted friend.
National Artist for Visual Arts Larry Alcala hardly exaggerated the wastefulness of some people for whom water is a resource that is taken for granted. Asiong Aksaya’s practice of brushing his teeth while leaving a faucet open until he finishes the ritual is not unheard of among some Filipinos.
In actual life, wasteful consumption of water is not just an irksome idiosyncrasy of the clueless and entitled.
It is a mindset and behavior that jeopardizes the sustainability and safety of the public in the light of the scarcity of water and its short-term consequences and long-term impact on society and the ecology.
Bankal, Lapu-Lapu City residents of a village store water because faucets release only a trickle or no water at all within the day, especially on weekends and holidays when more people remain at home and carry out chores, such as the washing of clothes.
Although the cost of water from the subdivision’s in-house water provider rose several times over the years, the volume of water supplied during peak hours of water usage dropped or became intermittent, most likely as the number of residents increased in the village.
Water production in Cebu City has also gone down, according to a SunStar Cebu April 30, 2023 report by Mildred V. Galarpe and Katlene O. Cacho.
In an interview with the SunStar Cebu team, Minerva Gerodias, spokesperson of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD), said that since the end of March, which marks the start of the hot, dry season, surface water supplies of the firm have gone down, resulting in the MCWD supplying less than half of the daily water needs of Metro Cebu.
The drastic reduction of water affects everyone. Residents have to spend time and resources to store water in anticipation of faucets staying dry or reduced to trickling.
Productivity is affected, especially for those who have to store water when one is supposed to be resting or carrying out chores.
Increased expenditure for water affects businesses, which will pass on the cost to consumers.
One of the worst news is the looming 60-percent water price hike that the MCWD anticipates to implement by July, after this is approved by the Local Water Utilities Administration.
MCWD officials say that the proposed water price increase will cover the firm’s ongoing and future projects to improve water supply and other services to the public.
The rising cost and scarcity of water should wake the Asiong Aksayas among us. Closing the gap between the haves and have-nots demands that the mindset of all stakeholders should be to value water as an essential and diminishing resource.
More importantly, given that there is no substitute for water, good governance is needed to ensure that everyone has fair access and shared responsibility to efficiently use and reuse this resource.
INVALUABLE. “Although it’s difficult to accept price increases, the costliest water is no water at all,” said Charles Kenneth Co, president of Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in the April 30, 2023 SunStar Cebu report. / FILE
April 30, 2023
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