Forget about building new dams and the unpractical desalination plants. It’s all about harvesting water directly and locally. Here are five ways:
- Every dwelling must harvest rainwater from the roof through a water tank of at least 1500 litres; more substantial for buildings. The rainwater tank will be used to supply water for cleaning and garden, while new buildings to include connecting rainwater to laundry, and toilet use.
- All buildings and homes must be encouraged to use 5-star efficient water taps and fixtures.
- All new large buildings must have a greywater system- directing shower waste for toilet flushing and hard surface cleaning.
- Rainwater run-off from the street and parks should flow into a greywater treatment facility for the city water uses.
- Promote sustainable water programs, provide a star rating system, provide rebates with those who use water efficiently, and higher prices to those who overburden it.
According to Pagasa, The Philippines annual rainfall reach up to 4 meters annually; however, our country is currently not taking advantage of this wasted natural resource letting it all go down to drain. If we want sustainability, we need to harvest rainwater directly from the sky.
Rainwater tanks and rain gardens have significant ecological benefits because capturing water locally and keeping it out of streams. It prevents stormwater runoff, that transfer pollutants and chemicals into nearby water sources that cause damage to the ecosystem.
Metro Manila residents will most likely deny the need for water supply sustainability over short-term convenience. It’s complicated, other cities like Melbourne in Australia have reacted similarly taking about four years after a fatal drought to impose water restrictions.
“We need to figure out how to create that sense of urgency, by telling the city folks honestly what the situation is,” “not saying, ‘Conserve water, we’re in the running out of supply’ but showing them it’s drying up, and here’s the number.” – said Stanley Grant, a civil and environmental engineer at the University of California, Irvine (UCI).
In Australia where I live, every proposed building is required to pass to a 5-star rating water efficiency plan. Meanwhile, the existing dwelling is encouraged to install rainwater tanks subsidised by the government.
At my house in the Gold Coast, I have a 4000 litres rainwater tank I use to top up my swimming pool, for outdoor cleaning, and garden use. The rain always gets it full but not enough, some have 40,000 liters water tank to cover their greywater needs.
A 3000 litres slim water tank. – Source: Bunnings.com.au, Google images
HOW MELBOURNE CUT HALF OF CITY WATER NEEDS
Referring to an article from E&E news “What Australia can teach the world about surviving drought”. This Illustrates a very encouraging road map of how the Philippines can save its city residence from water scarcity.
Australia tackled one of the worst droughts in their recorded history, starting from 1997 to 2009. Melbourne, the coastal capital of Victoria consisting of 4.3 million people, hit their lowest point with their water level dropping down to 25.6%. Fortunately, the impact of the application of various policies and programs reduced the water demand by almost 50%.
Policy choices and integrated responses from government agencies allowed a shift in Melbourne’s sea and culture to use less water. Even before the drought (in the late 1980s), the city passed legislation to set up the groundwork for a united response in case of a drought. Multiple federal entities provided funding for this project, which in turn provided Melbourne with money.
Victoria’s government invested millions in infrastructures to transport water over mountains and into the water treatment plant. Pipelines were included in the many infrastructures built.
New strategies and programs to save more water were implemented. Several rebate programs for residential greywater systems, that were used for gardening, were applied. The use of recycled water for agricultural and urban sectors was invested profoundly by the government. By the end of Melbourne’s struggle for water, 1 out of 3 citizens owned rainwater holding tanks. The water flows into rivers reduced And water restrictions and educational programs launched with the purpose of encouraging participation.
Due to these changes in Melbourne’s infrastructure and culture, by 2010, the water use was cut down to 41gallons per person, half of the usage before the drought. If Melbourne can do it, Metro Manila can do it too.