WE have such an abundance of rain in this country that floods are a perennial problem. With the floods come landslides as days of heavy rains loosen the earth and mountainsides come sliding down to bury entire communities.
Our rains are among our most bountiful natural resources, along with sunlight, our seas and rivers, our winds, even the underground heat of our volcanoes, and, of course, our minerals from our mountains and wood from our forests.
We have long exploited the power of our rivers with dams producing electric power, the geothermal heat beneath our volcanoes, our winds turning fields of wind mills, and the sun’s heat harvested with solar panels.
We depend on our rains to fill our dams each rainy season, to provide water for our farmers, our power plants, and our industrial and household needs. But so much of our rains is wasted as they flood our cities and lowlands before flowing out to sea.
A bill has now been filed in Congress by Rep. LRay Villafuerte of Camarines Sur to require commercial, institutional, and residential estate developers to set up rainwater retention facilities in their coming projects. This will help reduce flooding but the greater significance is that this will make use of so much water that is now simply wasted.
Under the proposed law, a developer of a new project in Metro Manila and other major cities with an area of at least 1,500 square meters is required to develop and maintain at least 3 percent of the area as a rainwater harvesting facility.
“Rainwater is a free, abundant, and a regular natural resource that the Philippines is fortunate to receive year in and year out,” Congressman Villafuerte said. “It is high time that we make use of it for the general advantage of our people.”
He said California in the United States has a Rainwater Capture Act with which it saves rainfall to help address the widespread drought that it suffers during the dry season. In Australia, he added, most buildings use captured rainwater for fountains and for flushing toilets.
We already have a Renewable Resources Law, enacted in 2005, encouraging the production and use of renewable energy, providing incentives such as reduction or cancellation of certain government fees, and requiring grid operators to provide them access to the grid. So many renewable power plants – wind, solar, biomass, etc – have since been established in our country.
With House Bill 8088, we will add rainwater – an abundant resource in our islands – to these renewable resources while helping to reduce the danger they pose during the flood season.