I thirst. And I surely give it a damn to see that the people of Davao start to unhinge themselves from their own apathy over problems that they consider not theirs. or not theirs yet.
Well, I sneer at those whose concept of fresh water conservation is shortened by the fact that they do not suffer--at least not yet--the water crisis currently experienced in Metro Manila and many parts of Luzon.
Sure we have all the reasons to be happy that now Davao still has its own reason to pride itself of having one of the best water resources worldwide but the inevitable question would be is: until when?
Following is an article I wrote and published by Sun.Star Davao:
The environmental group Interface Development Interventions, Inc. (Idis) has warned that the water crisis now being experienced in Metro Manila and many parts of Luzon could also happen to Davao , a region that prides itself of having one of the best water resources in the word.
But that, according to Lia Jasmin Esquillo, executive director of Idis, is not an assurance that the city will be spared from the water crisis that has struck Metro Manila and Luzon knowing how the landscape of the city has underwent rapid and major alterations in recent years.
Esquillo said that people of Davao, although blessed with abundant and clean water, must not be sitting on their laurels because it is not a remote possibility that Davao will also be suffering from inadequate supply of clean water knowing how the watersheds of the city is slowly being encroached by agricultural developments that are reliant on intensive usage of environmentally hazardous chemicals.
“Over the years, we have warned about the wanton destruction of Davao ’s upland watersheds and their surrounding environment by banana and pineapple plantations. We have already sounded the alarm that converting these areas to these plantations spells disaster which we might suffer sooner than later,” she said.
In Davao ’s third district alone, banana plantations is estimated to have reached over 5,000 hectares while pineapple plantations so far reached more than 1,000 hectares. Most of these plantations are on top of recharge zones. A recharge zone is an area of land through which water passes through holes or cracks in soil and rock to fill an aquifer. Deep rooted trees should be planted in recharge zones so that the rainwater can refill the aquifers.
The city is currently sourcing its supply of potable water from the Talomo-Lipadas watershed located at the third district, the same district where thousands of banana and pineapple plantations can be found. Bananas and pineapples have very shallow root systems.
The Davao City Water District (DCWD) identified the Panigan-Tamugan watershed, still at the third district, as the future source of drinking water for Davao . However, even the Panigan-Tamugan watershed is currently being threatened by continuous expansion of chemically-depended monoculture farming.
“The picture of environmental destruction—the destruction of the upland watershed areas of Davao —is so alarming and it’s sad that not too many people in the city care to take a look at it and actually do something to arrest it. We would dread the day where people are starting to care because the problem has reached their households already,” Esquillo said.
Added to this, she said, is the effect of changes in climate happening worldwide which is a cause to worry.
“It is sad that people do not really give too much importance to this and what is more disheartening is that, in the face of this apathy is a government that prioritizes agricultural projects and programs that are oppressive and destructive,” Esquillo said.
Recently, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said that the country will be facing a shortage in the supply of freshwater in the year 2010, or three years from now, which will eventually lead to a sectoral conflict.
In its report, the DENR identified Davao as among the many major cities in the country that are currently suffering from a shortage in freshwater supply.
A study made by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) shows that at least 431 municipalities outside Metro Manila are waterless now. Locally, a critical number of communities in the second district are perennially suffering less supply of water.
“If we all allow the continuous expansion of these plantations, we can only expect to suffer the worse in the future and we don’t even have to wait for 2010 to see and experience this. In fact, right now, many communities in the city do not have access to fresh water,” Esquillo said.