OpinionsEnvironment ConnectionWhy water supply should be controlled, managed by govt

Why water supply should be controlled, managed by govt


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Water is required for every living thing in order to stay alive. A person can survive without food for a day or two, but will succumb to lack of drinking water in several hours. Water is an important substance to maintain life and good health.

Chemically, water is formed by the two elements, Hydrogen and Oxygen. The elements of Oxygen, Carbon, Hydrogen, and Nitrogen make up about 96 percent by weight of the human body.

Water formed by Hydrogen and Oxygen makes up 75 percent of the average weight of the human body.

The presence of water is an indicator of the presence of life in the universe. On earth, water falling as rain, snow, or ice eventually reaches lakes or oceans, where it is stored until it evaporates as water vapor to form clouds, which produce more rain.

Sources of water include catchment areas, surface waters from natural ponds, lakes, streams and rivers; ground waters from springs and wells; and brackish or salt waters.

These waters generally require purification and treatment to become potable for human uses such as drinking, cooking, and washing.

The Philippines is fortunate to have the Tropical Rain Forest composed of the Lowland or Dipterocarp Forest, the Mid-Mountain Forest, and the Mossy Forest.

There are other kinds of forest in the Philippines but I will not deal with those in this article. The Lowland Forest is typically composed of three storeys. In its pristine state, it is so dense that sunlight can hardly penetrate the closed canopy provided by the tallest and the medium tree storeys, and the epiphytes on the trunks of these trees.

All these result in a cool and humid forest floor even during the dry and hot months of the year.

Furthermore, the forest ground is covered by a thick layer of humus and decaying leaves and logs. During times of rainfall, rain water percolates through this mass of organic matter, and is held as ground water that is slowly released to streams and rivers.

When rain forest is removed and gives way to cultivated areas or secondary forest, disastrous flooding results, as shown by the case of some people in Panay Island who drowned during the recent typhoon Ursula.

Of all the forest types in the Philippines, the Tropical Rain Forest probably contributes the most to the generation of fresh water in the country compared to other types of forest. However, data on the amount of water it generates are needed.

It is unfortunate that we have lost most of these forests. The forests in the vicinity of dams appear, as far as I can see in video, to be logged-over forests and therefore, have limited water-absorbing capacity; this probably explains the small amount of water accumulated in these dams.

What we must do is to conserve them at this time, and encourage our local governments to reforest our mountain areas with endemic tree species and other plant species associated with the Lowland Forest.

After all, it is the people and the local communities that will reap the benefits of improving and maintaining the water supply originating from these forests.

The sources that contribute to the production of water in the country are already under the control and management of the national government, with the participation of local governments.

The forests, the watersheds, the nature parks, the lakes, the rivers, and some impoundments are under government control.

To my mind, it is logical for the government to take full control of the collection, purification, and distribution of water for drinking, cooking, and for industrial, and sanitary uses.

By dealing with all the various aspects of water management, it is possible to have an integrated water program for the Filipino people.

We should be reminded of the health risk for people who are not able to access clean water for drinking, and for other purposes.

People need to maintain 75 percent of their body weight as water, in order to remain healthy.

As far as water quality standards for water are concerned, government is already well set up for the implementation and maintenance of these standards.

Many harmful microorganisms such as coliform bacteria, viruses, and fungi, may have affected the health of many people with no or limited access to clean water.

During World War II dysentery was prevalent. The problem of water-borne diseases of our people should be studied.

Under government control, water will be cheaper.

Government should also consider giving free water to those who are not able to pay for it.

This way, government is seen to provide a very important service to all sectors of the Filipino people.


Author’s email: [email protected]

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