Editorial: Why not harvest rainwater?

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

ONCE again we were reminded that unusual weather is now a reality and that it need not be that extreme to wreak havoc upon us.

Low pressure area or LPA is really nothing but rain. We’ve had it since we were kids and since our parents were kids and since their grandparents were kids. There will always be rain, but not all rain becomes a typhoon.

There may be the doomsayers on our social networking sites who see Yolanda 2 in a puff of cloud, but we have to look at those puffs of clouds not with panic but with concern. We know how much water those puffs can bring.


True enough they did bring water that brought flashfloods and landslides.

As reported by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) as of 6 a.m. of January 13, the reports are:

In New Corella, Davao del Norte, a landslide occurred along the road at sitio A1 Purok 6 in El Salvador. No casualties were reported.

In Tagum City, a landslide occurred at Km 6 in Barangay Pandapan, no casualties reported.

In Cateel, Davao Oriental, landslide occurred in sitio Camansi, barangay Maglahus.

There were floodings too in Asuncion, Kapalong, and New Corella in Davao del Norte, and in five towns of Compostela Valley.

Greater damages were reported in Davao Oriental where 106 houses were destroyed and 134 others were damaged in the towns of Tarragona, Lupon, Boston, Cateel, Manay, Caraga, and Gov. Generoso. Several bridges were also damaged rendering areas hard to reach.

All this from a wide swath of clouds that we once just brushed off as rainfall.

Climate has indeed changed and our barren lands are no longer able to seep in as much water that we would have wanted them to, but we can do a lot if only we prepare not only when the inclement weather is already about to enter the country.

For one, Davao City has a rainwater harvesting ordinance that never managed to take off. Imagine the gallons of rainwater that we can gather to water our plants during the days when there’s no rain, and wash our windows with.

Rainwater can also be harvested for agricultural lands with a little more investment put in.

But no, we can’t be bothered with all these. Let’s just let the rain pour down and drain away, never mind if as it drains it brings along a life or two and a couple of dozens of houses as well.

Remember the days when every house had a “tangke”. While we may no longer be able to drink water straight from the tangke as the Dabawenyos of pre-Davao City Water District days used to do, we can still do a lot with gathered rainwater. We can mop our floors with it and flush our toilets.

At present, we use our safe drinking water to do all these and more, while we let our communities flood over whenever we get a day of two of rain.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 14, 2014.


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