Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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Water supply will worsen, unless…

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Water supply will worsen, unless…

As our towns and cities get bigger and congested, it is easy to foretell what is in store before us in the future.  We have very few open spaces and parks that serve as catch basin for water from rainfall.

I was told that in Singapore and other well-planned cities are well prepared to meet the demands of the future.  Even the paving of sidewalks are done with bricks and not cemented held steady by sand so rain water and street washing can be sipped in to contribute to the water bed underground.

Highrise buildings have mushroomed in many parts of the city.  As per the observation of a doctor-friend regarding the water shortage we are going through, along Edsa to SM North and Balintawak are suddenly full of tall buildings which not too long ago were not there.  It is indeed very surprising how those tall buildings sprouted practically overnight.

A doctor-friend commented that those tall buildings will put a strain on our water reserve.  It is those highrise buildings that heavily consume our water reserve in the dam and reservoir.  He said, Metro Manila would need no less than 2 to 3 more dams to meet the demands of those highrise buildings.  His main concern is the water supply needed by the hospitals.  The hospitals were badly affected recently that led the doctors to worry about the tall buildings that continue to grow.

I purposely passed by several areas in Quezon City and indeed almost all of the open spaces not too long ago are now full of buildings, huge buildings which indeed would need a tremendous amount of water supply. 

As Metro Manila grows (they say for the sake of “progress,” more of greed), more reservoirs and dams would be needed or face the bigger and bigger demand for water in the very near future.

If this water shortage situation suddenly occurred and caught us by surprise, those in-charge of planning the supply of water needed by the city must just have to drive around the city and see for themselves how the La Mesa Dam can possibly cope up with all those buildings that suddenly mushroomed overnight.

Do these buildings have to be so tall to maximize greed for more income?  Being on the earthquake belt, there is reason to rethink.  New York on Manhattan Island is safe.  No earthquake in New York.  It can accommodate tall buildings safely.  Parts of Japan are also on the earthquake belt, but Japanese technology spend more money on the “floating” foundation than on the building itself.

Some knowledgeable businessmen have commented that those who made fortunes in the past through corruption and/or drug-trading are parking their ill-gotten wealth on real estate and highrise buildings instead of depositing their money in the banks which the AMLA can send alarm signals re huge deposits.  Many have also siphoned their ill-gotten wealth abroad.  But the size of the loot in pesos is not easily convertible into foreign currency such as U.S. dollars.  Some have succeeded by whatever means which my businessmen friends commented to me; and the amounts invested in the country are hard to trace for dummies are formed to camouflage where the funds came from; and who truly owns the loot.

*  *  *  *  *

In the excavation where my parents’ ancestral home once stood, many are wondering why a pool of water remain despite the hot summer month, coupled by short supply of water all over the City.  Many are wondering where the pool of water is coming from.

Before my father built the ancestral home which he gifted my mother in the 1950s, the house was not there before the outbreak of the war.  Instead, it was a beautiful garden full of exotic trees and flowers, including a huge swimming pool.  For sure, none of my younger siblings would remember, but I do.  I am the eldest and some of my siblings were not even born yet or too young to know.

Sometime in 1940, my father had a deep well constructed in one part of the property.  That fresh water well supplied the swimming pool with water; and later the ancestral house, as well as the houses of my siblings in the compound.

Nobody ever thought that World War II would trigger two years after the construction of the fresh water well – called “pozo.”  To make a long story short, that “well or pozo” supplied water to thousands of people in the neighborhood and farther areas with no supply of potable water.  That well (pozo) saved so many lives during the war; and people lined up to get fresh water from the Well.  That was during the war years and there must be few survivors still living today.

That explained the pool of water in the excavation site in the middle of summer that refuses to dry.  As the earth sips the fresh water from the Well, the main vein down deep under the ground still spreads water in the excavation site. 

It is really a pity that the excavation hit and destroyed the “pozo” which springs fresh water into the excavation site.  We used to connect with the well for potable water.  It’s a very deep well.

Sayang po talaga kasi ‘yang pozo na ginawa ng aking ama, Tomas Morato, should also be part of the historical site for without that fresh water well, constructed in 1940, many people in the neighborhood and from far away places would have died during the war years Manila was occupied by the Japanese.  That’s only part of the story to tell about our ancestral home which was built beside that historical fresh water well that kept so many of our people alive, including the family and other relatives.

The big swimming pool was converted into a fish-pen where “gurami” fish were bred in it also to give away to those who needed food.  But before my father was brought to Fort Santiago and later released by the Emperor of Japan after 8 months of incarceration, my father buried about 89 personal handwritten letters of President Quezon to my father and other personal things of his, put in a drum and buried in that swimming pool which was fully covered by ground and landscaped into a beautiful garden with fruit-bearing trees such as santol, marang, langka, kamias…

With this excavation, I wonder who got my father’s documents for I told the excavators to please watch out for that steel drum.  No news who got it, including his firearms as colonel of the USAFFE, one of the reasons for his incarceration for the Japanese came to know that he was helping the guerillas during the outbreak of the war, supplying them with trucks of rice and other provisions in the mountains.

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