MANILA Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez on Tuesday vowed to marshal congressional support to study the possibility of harvesting rainwater in local catchments or mini-dams as a source of drinking water for the country's cities and municipalities.
Romualdez, one of the top contenders for Speaker in the 18th Congress, said harvesting rainwater in mini-dams is a viable undertaking as the mean annual rainfall of the Philippines varies from 965 to 4,064 millimeters.
But with that much water, Romualdez said: It is ironic that Metro Manila is submerged in flood waters even at the slightest downpour, yet households do not have a steady supply of water from their faucets.
The president of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) cited the experience of Singapore, where rainwater is collected through a comprehensive network of drains, canals, and rivers and channeled to the reservoirs before it is treated for drinking water.
This makes Singapore one of the few countries in the world to harvest urban stormwater on a large scale for potable consumption, he pointed out.
However, due to budget requirements, we may have to do initially with the construction of mini-dams or small local catchments for rainwater based on existing infrastructure in various localities, Romualdez said.
The idea of constructing mini-dams was first proposed to Romualdez by Bulacan Rep. Gavini Apol Pancho on the sidelines of Monday's pre-State of the Nation Address economic and infrastructure forum at the reception hall of the PICC Reception Hall in Pasay City.
"I fully subscribe to the proposal of Cong. Apol. Since the creation of Department of Water is a priority of President Rodrigo Duterte, I will ask other leaders of Congress to include the mini-dam concept in the legislative measure, Romualdez said, as he reiterated his full support to the creation of the new government agency.
Meanwhile, Pancho said the construction of mini-dams will not only address the water supply problem but will also solve the flooding problem in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
"Just this Monday, the heavy downpour submerged several areas of Bulacan and parts of Metro Manila yet water level in Angat Dam rose only by a meter. If we can collect those rainwater in small-dams, then we may have a steady supply of water even for agricultural, commercial and industrial use, he said.
The Bulacan solon also noted that constructing mini-dams is not too costly for the government since the project only involves stages of walling of existing infrastructure and the leveling and deepening of riverbeds.
"Ang importante, hindi masayang ang mga tubig-ulan at maipon natin sa halip na pumunta lamang sa kalye at magdulot ng baha (The important thing is that rainwater is not wasted but collected, instead of just causing floods in the streets), Pancho said. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency