Early this month, we were reminded how vulnerable our cities and towns are to flooding as Habagat” rains inundated Metro Manila and other provinces in Luzon. It was a painful reminder, as 95 people died(mostly due to drowning) and total cost of damages to infrastructure and agriculture reached more than P2 billion. Flood solutions were soon proposed by individuals coming from various disciplines. But will the government take them seriously this time?
So far, the Aquino administration has vowed to “blast” homes built along canals and other waterways – a harsh proposal that was expectedly slammed by urban poor groups. Officials have also proposed flood control projects including huge dikes and upgrade of sewerage systems. They must be reminded though that there are less violent, less costly and more sustainable ways to address the flooding problem.
Among the sustainable solutions which the government can pursue is the creation of rainwater harvest systems at different levels and settings. Such idea was tackled by environmental lawyer and advocate Antonio Oposa Jr. in his Facebook note. Oposa said that the government should turn vacant spaces into ponds, water reservoirs, and lakes where excess rainwater can flow.
Simply catch rain
His idea goes like this: dig a hole on low-lying areas where excess water can flow, put water lilies and populate the resulting pond with fish, and voila! – flooding is mitigated while ecosystem integrity is ensured.