It’s summer time: Conserve water, protect rivers

By Renan Alangilan September 16,2013

Children enjoy bathing in a river in Bonbon, Cebu City (Tonee Despojo)

Conserve water and protect rivers and lakes, which are the sources of potable water.

Dr. Isabelo R. Montejo, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 regional executive director, made this call as the threat of a water shortage again looms with the summer months here and the celebration of the World Water Day last Friday.

“Water becomes even more essential and very precious during the hot summer months as the human body is 70 percent water and we should replenish the water we lose when we perspire by drinking even more,” Montejo said.

He said water like air was essential to sustain life.

“Man can survive without food for 40 days but cannot survive without water for four days. All our cells and organs that make up our anatomy depend on water for proper and healthy functioning,” he said.

He also appealed to the public to help in protecting the country’s water bodies as well as in planting and growing of trees, which would play an important role to sustain the flow of oour rivers and creeks.

“Our rivers have played an important and critical role in the country’s economic growth. Yet, we have ignored this and continue to pollute our rivers and lakes by turning them into giant septic tanks and trash bins,” he said, citing the colonies of shanties along the rivers that continue to throw their domestic wastes into the river.

He said about 53 percent of the waste polluting our rivers came from domestic wastes.

He also cited overextraction of groundwater, the dwindling supply of surface water because of the neglect of our watersheds, and the over-exploitation of our forest resources as threats of our water resources.

Yesterday, DENR employees and volunteers cleaned up rivers, creeks and coastal waters such as the Butuanon River, Hipodromo Creek, Jagobiao Creek, Tipolo Creek, Sabang River/Lugot River, Guindarohan River, Pilipog-Gabi River, Luknay Creek, Sapangdaku River, Cantabaco Bay, and Buanoy River.

“Amidst the impacts of climate change, it is important that we should urgently adopt and practice water conservation measures as a way of life, and not just only during the summer months. Every drop of water we save can spell a life to some of our countrymen in far-flung areas in need of water to drink and to keep them away from sickness,” Montejo said.

Political issue

Meanwhile, a plumber’s association called on local government units for water cooperation and for candidates in the 2013 elections to make the management of freshwater resources as one of their priority agenda.

Feliciano L. Aparre, president of the United Skilled Plumbers Association Inc. (USPA), said in a statement that this would be the only way to enable concrete gains in the group’s advocacy.

Aparre made the call amid a recent business risk assessment which puts Cebu in a potential “climate sandwich” because of the advancement of saltwater intrusion and the onset of climate changed-induced hazards such as landslides and flood that would imperil the province’s freshwater resources.

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