State of calamity

By Alex P. Vidal

“Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.”— Jacques Yves Cousteau

IT’S so sad that the Iloilo City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) had to pass a resolution recommending to place Iloilo City under a state of calamity due to the water shortage caused by the El Niño phenomenon,v which was immediately approved by Mayor Geronimo “Jerry” Trenas.

Since many cities and provinces in the Philippines are on the same situation with Iloilo, we would like to share below some of the 19 best solutions to the global freshwater crisis captured by a GlobeScan and SustainAbility poll of more than 1200 leading international experts in 80 countries.

— Educate to change consumption and lifestyles. In the end, changing the face of this crisis involves education to motivate new behaviors. Coping with the coming era of water scarcity will require major overhaul of all forms of consumption, from individual use to the supply chains of major corporations, like GE. Some regions led by India, Australia and the Southwest U.S., are already facing the freshwater crisis. The most critical task is making sure the problem is much better understood worldwide.

— Invent new water conservation technologies. In areas where aquifers are drying up and rainwater is increasingly unpredictable, innovation is needed. But as we attempt to cope with freshwater scarcity and develop conservation technologies, energy consumption is an important consideration.


— Recycle wastewater. In March, World Water Day panelists urged a new mindset for wastewater treatment. Some countries, like Singapore, are trying to recycle to cut water imports and become more self-sufficient. The rich East Asian republic is a leader in developing advanced technology that cleanses wastewater for other uses, including drinking.

— Improve irrigation and agricultural practices. Some 70 percent of the world’s freshwater is used for agriculture. Improving irrigation can help close supply and demand gaps. In certain cases profligate irrigation practices meant for an earlier era has weakened the ability of farmers to provide food and fiber to a growing world. Examples include the Murray-Darling basin in Australia, Central Asia’s Aral Sea, and the American Southwest. Although new technology has become an appealing solution, global water experts like Peter Gleick note that in some cases, such as the agricultural systems in California, success stories can happen by improving what’s already in place.

— Appropriately price water. Water pricing and rights go hand in hand, with consumers questioning the benefit of higher prices. According to experts from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an international economic forum of 31 of the world’s richest countries, raising prices will help lower waste and pollution. But Circle of Blue’s May investigation into water pricing systems in major U.S. cities, show current utility pricing systems are obsolete, send the wrong signals, and need reform.

— Develop energy efficient desalination plants. To date, desalination has been an energy-intensive solution to water scarcity. Typically the Middle East has capitalized on its large energy reserves to build desalination plants. But Saudi Arabia could be fostering a new kind of desalination with its recent announcement to use solar-powered plants.Britain has taken a different approach with small-scale facilities for agriculture. But these innovations bring to light another needed resource—the capital for technological experimentation. (To be continued)


MUSHROOMS. Enoki, chanterelle, portabella, and shitake are all types of gourmet edible mushrooms.

POWER OF VITAMIN D. If we see tremendous improvements in our fingernails at least a month after taking Vitamin D and Omega-3 Fish Oil, that means 36 of our organs are well taken care of. Thanks to medical science for the education.

CONDEMNED TO SUFFER. Because some of us didn’t vote wisely in the past elections, we have been condemned to suffer from bad governance after electing bad leaders. Our situation is like that of Albert Camus’ “Myth of Sisyphus.” Election 2025 will be our redemption day! We can’t afford to miss this day in history.

ROCK ROSE makes spring-flower lovers wait until late in the season for blooms, but that extra dose of patience is worth it. Double varieties such as this one are one of the best flowers to plant in spring, with a profusion of petals on low-growing shrubs in both spring and early summer.

OUR MAIN PURPOSE. The prime purpose of our time on earth is not about acquiring possessions, attaining status, achieving success, or even experiencing happiness. God created us to love Him. We do it by loving others.

PRAYER FOR GUIDANCE AND DIRECTION. You promised that when we seek You with all our heart, we will find You, Lord. We seek only after You. Still our troubled hearts. Still our wayward minds. We seek only after You. We’re never going to be able to figure this situation out on our own, and right now we’re leaning heavily on You. We seek only after You. We give you all the anxieties and fears we feel about this situation. We release them all to You. We seek only after You. We open our life up so that it becomes like an open book before You. May You write in it Your words of guidance, inspiration and direction. We seek only after You. Still our troubled hearts. Still our wayward minds. We seek only after You. We await Your voice.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)