All things considered, the Philippines is fortunate to have the water resources it has. However, climate change and growing populations are currently threatening the country’s water security, with supply shortfalls already appearing in different regions throughout the country.
Fortunately, there is some good news. With well-targeted investments in water infrastructure, Philippine-based communities can make the most of existing supplies and potentially conserve them for future generations. With a water-secure future, later generations can live a better tomorrow.
Here are just some of the long-term benefits of improving the country’s water supply, treatment, and distribution systems:
Increased Economic Activity
Clean water is a prerequisite for every single economic activity. While most of us only think about the water that comes out of the faucets in our bathrooms and kitchens, residential water usage is dwarfed by industrial, commercial, and agricultural consumption. Modern life as we know it would not be sustainable without sufficient water infrastructure capacity.
Water infrastructure also benefits economic activity in ways you might not have considered. Water-secure communities are much better positioned to secure investments and financing that could be used to generate local prosperity. Better water infrastructure also usually boosts property values and related commercial activity.
The LIMA Water Corporation at the LIMA Technology Center in Lipa City, Batangas, is proof that better water infrastructure makes a difference. The company’s modern water supply and waste management systems have allowed it to deliver end-to-end water and wastewater services for several multinational companies which decided to establish their base in the area. If more communities had access to similar water systems, it’s likely they may also be better placed to attract investments.
Better Life Quality
Access to clean water is a necessity for enjoying a better quality of life. As mentioned earlier, clean water is important for increasing economic activity — something that has a direct impact on the quality of life. However, it also has more direct impacts on the lives of people in a given area.
People living in areas that are water-poor or have aging water infrastructure are much more likely to be in contact with unsanitary water sources. These can have a serious negative impact on human health, particularly among infants, the elderly, and individuals with weak immune systems.
This, in turn, forces locals in affected areas to dedicate greater financial resources to healthcare and toward the disinfection of available water, or to obtain clean water sourced from outside the community. This effectively limits the income of locals and also forces them to spend time, effort, and money to achieve a similar quality of life to those living in an area with better water infrastructure.
With greater investment in better water infrastructure, individuals within the community can enjoy better water justice and they can collectively dedicate more resources to other activities such as business and leisure. In these ways, having better water infrastructure ultimately makes a community a more livable place.
It’s not just people who benefit from better water infrastructure. Improved water infrastructure ultimately lessens the impact on water tables and the ecosystems associated with them. This is because low-quality or aging water infrastructure tends to be highly inefficient. In other words, not all the water that is drawn from a source makes it to consumers.
A significant proportion of water drawn from locally available sources is often lost due to leaks and evaporation. This results in water supplies being depleted at a rate far faster than the actual demand, wreaking havoc on local ecosystems without significant benefit to communities. Additionally, these inefficiencies also make older water systems a disaster in terms of energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions per output.
It’s not just the systems that bring clean water to communities that we have to take care of. Sewage leaking from dilapidated water infrastructure can also be highly destructive to the environment, impacting local fauna and flora. These leaks may potentially harm local human populations as well, as polluted water often makes its way into the very supplies people use for everyday consumption.
Rebuilding obsolete water systems and building new ones to facilitate future demand will be key to protecting both the environment and communities’ water security. If we want our descendants to enjoy the Philippines’ wildlands, water infrastructure improvements need to be on the national agenda.
Why Learn about the Benefits of Water Infrastructure?
The main hindrance to the development of better water systems is, in large part, an awareness of the benefits. The benefits of major water infrastructure projects are not usually felt until after several years. This incentivizes the prioritization of other projects that have more immediate benefits to communities.
Unfortunately, this often results in aging water systems gradually becoming stretched far beyond their original design specifications, leading to a cascading list of serious issues. Illnesses, economic depression, and environmental hazards are all direct consequences of the deprioritization of water infrastructure.
For this reason, it’s important that all of the country’s stakeholders, including decision-makers and ordinary citizens, understand how improving water infrastructure will benefit their communities in the long term. By working together, we can all obtain a better, water-secure life for all Filipinos.
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