An opposition lawmaker on Wednesday said he will file a bill that makes it mandatory for all building owners, both private and government, as well as households around the country to provide their own rainwater catchment facilities.
“We now need to take seriously the threat of a water-less Philippines or face the dire consequences. We warned about this four years ago and it is now happening,” senior deputy minority leader and Buhay Party-list Rep. Lito Atienza said.
“We urgently need a law requiring all building owners, both government and private, as well as households to put up their own rainwater catchment facilities, so that all the water gathered in these facilities can be reused such as for washing clothes, washing cars, dishwashing, flushing toilets and watering plants. We don’t need freshwater for these. Now that we are once again facing the real danger of losing our water supply, we should and we must start saving water and promote the more prudent use of one of our country’s most valuable resources. We have to be very deliberate and conscious about water use,” Atienza said.
Atienza said it takes years to address our growing population’s needs for freshwater. This cannot be done overnight, he added.
The party-list lawmaker also said he finds it ironic that even though the country is an archipelago surrounded by bodies of water, we continue to experience intermittent periods of dwindling water supply especially during the summer months.
“All these rainwater is actually a blessing that unfortunately just goes to waste without being collected and utilized. We do not even consider saving it and using it properly. At the same time, we have at least 144 billion cubic meters of freshwater supply not being utilized wisely. Of this, only an estimated 24-25 billion cubic meters are being used properly every year. And the rest goes to waste,” Atienza added.
Atienza, who previously served as Environment secretary, renewed his warning that freshwater would soon become a very rare commodity for the world.
“Water, in many countries around the world, has become very expensive and costs even more than gasoline. On the other hand, our country has an abundant supply of freshwater. If managed properly, we could even export and supply drinking water to other countries in Asia," Atienza said.
“We are blessed with continuous rainfall, but it is not gathered and collected. Let’s attend to this problem now while there is still time so that the next generations of Filipinos will benefit from our efforts. There shouldn’t be any water crisis if the government properly manages our water bodies which are ideal sources of fresh potable water," he added.