Rainwater harvesting, solution to water scarcity –Dar
Agriculture secretary William D. Dar promoted the use of rainwater harvesting as a means to address water scarcity.
“We are giving high priority on rainwater harvesting as a measure to address water availability,” he said during a farmers’ forum in Benguet.
Before being appointed as the Department of Agriculture (DA) secretary, Dar said that he has advocated rainwater harvesting. According to him, the Philippines annually receives about 2,400 millimeters (mm) of rainfall, one of the world’s highest.
“But we only harvest six percent of that rainfall. While India has only an average of 700 mm of rain annually but they harvest 60 percent of that. They lack water during dry season. That is how important it is for them to harvest much of their rain,” Dar explained. He said that the provinces in the Philippines are encountering the same problem on water availability.
“The mountains are losing trees. The number one perpetrators there, are the loggers. Followed by those who engage in kaingin and even more so, farming and vegetable gardening.” Dar said.
According to studies, Benguet and some parts now of Cordillera have gone beyond the carrying capacity of the natural ecosystems due to human activities.
“This is the problem faced by provinces and municipalities, therefore we need to also balance things out. While we want farming to succeed, we need to see to it that the carrying capacity of the ecosystem is observed. Otherwise there will always be a problem with water availability.” He said.
Although Dar mentioned rainwater harvesting as a solution to water scarcity, he stressed that it is important to identify now the areas for agriculture and areas for re-vegetation or reforestation.
“But the long term measure is comprehensive land use at the provincial and municipal levels,” he added.
“The more the population grow, so will the farming areas. Therefore our ecosystem will not be able to carry all these series of human activities. The problem will get worse in Cordillera,” Dar said.