The socio-economic impact of MM water woes

Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN News

The week-long water supply crisis in Metro Manila particularly in the east zone serviced by the Ayala-owned Manila Water now has a toll in the retail and food service industries perhaps even in offices located in this zone.

The crisis also impacted on the social behavior of many people, who because they can’t bathe themselves or are unsure if the toilets in the. restaurants or malls they are going to would be decent enough to use.

Even restaurants in Manila Water area have to make use plastic utensils and paper plates for their patrons.

A business professional I interviewed said she does not want meeting people outside or holding socials in restaurants within malls because some malls have already closed their comfort rooms due to the severe water situation. 

How can you be sure if the plate or glass or spoon, fork and knife you will be using has been washed properly, she asked. 

Many people don’t want to host lunches or dinners at home because of water lack.

Thus the Filipino consumer has chosen to be a recluse not because he wants it that way but because he can’t give the basic comfort of hygiene to his visitor, much less to his own family.

It is no surprise then that people post on Facebook sarcastic messages like offering their toilets and baths for a fee per use. They make light of their uneasiness with such jokes in social media. 

The silence of Manila Water on this issue has aggravated the situation because consumers are thirsty, perhaps hungry too (as they deprive themselves of dining properly on soupy water-based foods thag require ceramic or plastic bowls and plates and decent utensils instead of just disposable ones) for answers to their nagging daily concerns. 

The government---through MWSS and the National Water Resources Board speaking for the concessionaire or blaming Manila Water for illegally using La Mesa Dam which should just be a reserve and the palace spokesman saying the crisis is artificial—aren’t helping the consumers any bit. They compound the misery consumers are already reeling from.

What people need are immediate and concrete solutions—should they require massive investments then government must invest now. Palliatives and immediate band-aid remedies like water tanking must be heightened so that supplies could manually reach the consumers. Not jus a truck-load per day for a barangay but with more volume and more frequency.

The crisis may not have yet reached Maynilad in the west concession but with El Nino it is just a matter of weeks before Maynilad customers will suffer the same fate.

And by then the crisis is out of hand.

We all have ourselves to blame. The government for delaying or shelving decades-old plans to develop more sources of water: the concessionaires for not doing enough to cut water losses from leaks, illegal connections and not using wastewater to plow back into the system: wasteful use of water by industries lime car washing and laundry, swimming pools of exclusive clubs, homes, resorts, condominiums and watering plants with hose or golf courses with non-stop sprinklers and so forth.

Whether we get supplies back again—through the generosity of nature’s precipitation or heavy rains, the fact will always remain that unless we get new water sources and until we change our ways the water crisis will stay with us. 


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Friday, 24 May 2019
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