IT’S ironic that in spite of the wet season, a big part of Metro Manila is suffering from water shortage. There is rain, in fact we already had one typhoon, but apparently it is falling in the wrong place. The water level at the Angat Dam, Metro Manila’s water source, keeps dropping because there are not enough downpours within its catchment area.

With their faucets running dry for days, desperate residents in Malabon went as far as punching a hole in a pipeline just to get water. Water tankers delivering the precious commodity are harassed. People are slowly losing their patience. This crisis is a preview of what’s to come when water becomes scarce.

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If this crisis can happen during rainy season, what more in the coming summer months? Let’s save water now!

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Water everywhere, but not a drop to drink, says an old poem about a sailor who was in the middle of the sea, but cannot drink salt water. In like manner, there’s water falling on rooftops but none is flowing in faucets. So…harvest the rain!

Large scale rain water harvesting is not a new. In fact, I learned from the UNEP website that a large scale rainwater harvesting program was initiated as early as in 1989 in Capiz province. It was for an agricultural project implemented through the assistance of the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

In Clark, Hansa Toys International Corp. has been harvesting rain since 1998. I saw their facility when I visited their factory together with officers of the Metro Angeles Chamber of Commerce and Industry. They have a big storage tank which is filled up by rainwater collected from their 6,000 square-meter roof.

It’s not only in rooftops where rain can be harvested. According to the website rainwaterharvesting.org, rainwater can be harvested from the following surfaces:

Paved and unpaved areas i.e., landscapes, open fields, parks, storm water drains, roads and pavements and other open areas can be effectively used to harvest the runoff. The main advantage in using ground as collecting surface is that water can be collected from a larger area.

Waterbodies: The potential of lakes, tanks and ponds to store rainwater is immense. The harvested rainwater can not only be used to meet water requirements of the town or city, it also recharges groundwater aquifers.

Stormwater drains: Most residential areas have proper network of storm water drains. If maintained neatly, these offer a simple and cost effective means for harvesting rainwater.

LGU’s, industries and commercial establishments can implement rainwater harvesting programs to avoid a water crisis similar to what is happening in Metro Manila. Meanwhile, let’s all do our part by saving water.