In the not so distant future, Metro Manila could be heading towards a severe water crisis.
I recently had an interesting but sad conversation with some environmentalists who informed me that the present water supply in these areas are good for just a few more years.
The biggest culprit in this impending disaster are the illegal loggers whose activities have caused a widespread denudation of our forests and whose operations have remained unchecked through the years. Unless new sources of water are discovered, the Metro area will suffer. Most of the present sources, they said, are way below its normal water levels especially Angat dam which is already way down to its critical levels. This explains why even deep wells now have only murky waters or even mud due to the drying up of the water beds.
The worried environmentalists also said that continued indifference of government officials to this worsening problem is exasperating. It is almost a crime. They added that many of our bureaucrats themselves hold logging permits which they farm out to dummies, family and friends. Either this or some of them are in the payroll of big logging concessionaires.
The current drought can also be traced to the activities of these loggers, not to mention the dreaded El Nino. Drought is an even bigger problem than floods caused by denuded forests. Floods occur because no roots will hold rainwater which are preserved in natural pools and reservoirs from which the public water supply may be taken. As a result, rainwater simply wash into the sea.
Yet, despite the gravity of the problem, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is at the bottom of the cabinet listing when it comes to government priorities. Environment plans submitted by concerned private groups are ignored and get lost in the bureaucratic maze.
(Image from http://everystockphoto.com/)