By LORRAINE C. SUAREZ
It is a bright Sunday afternoon. At this time, most people are either lounging at home or strolling about. Everyone seems to enjoy their activities; it is, after all, a weekend, and there is also good weather to boot.
As for me, I find myself yet to be awake despite the late hour. However, I have my own reasons.
As unlikely as it may sound, this reason has something to do with water shortage.
I had forgotten exactly when it started, but I remember that it began in the middle of this school year’s first semester.
First came the water supply rotations.
As someone who traveled to school in the morning, took classes in the afternoon, and arrived home in the evening, I was around the house very little, and I had to find out by experience when the water was cut off.
It was at 9 a.m. when the water disappeared, and for an afternoon student, this schedule brought forth inconveniences.
By cutting off the water at that hour, I was forced to get up earlier so that I can tend to personal hygiene. This raised another matter, though: since I am already freshly showered, why not travel to school now?
In improving my class attendance, leaving home earlier is more beneficial. But as a constantly sleep-deprived student, getting up earlier means sacrificing more much-needed hours of rest.
Meanwhile, even if the water rotation does prevent people from doing certain things, it does not stop my family from having breakfast so close to water cut-off time. After classes, I am greeted by a pile of dishes in the sink—being the first person to arrive—complete with traces of food from that day’s first meal, dried fish crumbs, or greasy films.
At its earliest, water pressure returned at 2 p.m.. But if we were far from lucky, it returned after 30 minutes to an hour. This forced me to do things in advance, while I delay other activities.
During those waterless periods, there was not much to do besides sleeping. If I were to eat lunch, I couldn’t wash the dishes after; if I were to cook, it would be hard to execute recipes, particularly sauces and soups.
In telling all these problems, I now realize that I am only ranting about lost privilege. My four hours of inconvenience holds nothing more than a crumb to those lacking reliable water sources every day.
I remember many times when I poured clean water down the sink, and it is odd to fathom that a normal, everyday occurrence in my life might already be a luxury for another.
At present, the cloud of a water shortage looms over Metro Manila and it is getting worse. From what I heard, some people have their water cut off up to 13 hours.
Some projects targeting this issue are in progress, one of them being the controversial Kaliwa Dam. The dam, however, comes at the cost of taking away indigenous people’s lands.
It is time to re-evaluate if these new projects and policies will truly make an impact not only on suffering water levels but also in improving water safety and universal access. The latter is not limited to just a small minority; it also extends to nearly seven million Filipinos in total.
This year, I can only hope for improved water service conditions. F
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in Vol. 55, Issue No. 1 of the Flame. View the entire issue through this link: https://issuu.com/abtheflame/docs/the_flame_vo._55_issue_no._1?fbclid=IwAR2a6lRhIqbWS0O29KnkGuhOGutDrqFfoPGkXUOeyaApRGmi_gFdWj0V4js