At this point when the Philippines is ravaged by El Niño, Filipinos begin to realize the dire need to preserve and conserve water, not just for agricultural purposes but also for household consumption, hydroelectric consumption and many more. Above all these, the most important fact that we should be wary and concerned about is quality and potable water.
According to the World Health organization, 1.1 billion people rely on unsafe drinking-water sources. Thus, this year's theme "Clean Water for a Healthy World."
On the other hand, while there is a worldwide concern on water quality, in the Philippines, there is still much work to be done in terms of access. The following water access map will show that most of the households still rely on Level 2 sources, and I quote from the case study I wrote two years ago, entitled: Lessons and Challenges in Sustaining Water Projects in Informal Communities"
Water is one of the most critical resources that the country must guard, protect and effectively and efficiently manage. The Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) estimates that the water distribution system in the country covers only 80 per cent of the population.
While this may look good, statistically, it only describes access to potable water sources--no matter how crude and how far these water systems or sources may be. The World Bank found out that only some 34 million Filipinos or less than half the current population (44%) has piped-in water connections in their homes. The rest rely on communal faucet systems, improvised point sources and alternative providers such as water truckers and resellers. (World Bank, 2006).
While the El Niño phenomenon compels us now to rethink or strategies for water management, it should be a continuing and long-term concern of every government rather than merely reacting to it.
Click this link for more information on World Water Day.