5 May 2014, Quezon City. An environmental group promoting zero waste has joined government officials in appealing to all water consumers to cut down on wasteful practices as weather scientists predict the onset of the El Niño phenomenon next month.
In a statement released on Monday, the EcoWaste Coalition called upon household, as well as commercial and industrial consumers of water, to carry out measures to reduce consumption and wastage of water, an indispensable but finite resource.
Last week, the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (DOST-PAGASA) announced the potential start of El Niño in June, which could last up to the first quarter of 2015.
DOST Secretary Mario Montejo on Labor Day advised concerned agencies “to take precautionary measures to mitigate the potential impacts of this phenomenon.”
In response, Senator Loren Legarda, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. and other government officials have urged the public to brace for El Niño and embark on water
conservation programs, including putting up rainwater harvesting facilities.
An update from the World Meteorological Organization last April 15 said “that an El Niño may develop around the middle of the year,” saying that “during El Niño events, the eastward shift of
thunderstorm activity from Indonesia into the central Pacific can result in abnormally dry conditions over northern Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines.”
“We should not wait for the water levels in Angat, La Mesa and other vital dams to reach super critical levels during the long dry spell before we act to conserve water,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Let us demonstrate our resolve to save water by cutting back on non-essential uses and getting rid of wasteful practices,” she stated.
As summer temperatures soar, the EcoWaste Coalition released some water conservation ideas to help consumers reduce their water use all-year round, while it requested commercial and industrial users to
invest on vital water use reduction initiatives such as waterless urinals and/or support the establishment of rainwater catchment basins or ponds in the communities.
1. Check pipes, faucets, showerheads, hoses, toilet and water tanks for leaks and have them fixed at once. Replace worn out sapatilya (washers) without delay.
2. Don‘t let the water run while you brush your teeth. Wet your toothbrush and fill a glass for mouth rinsing.
3. When washing your face or hands, turn the water off while you lather.
4. Take shorter showers and use just enough water. Turn off the water while you shampoo your hair or soap your body.
5. Reuse towels a few times before putting them on the laundry basket.
6. Place a bottle filled with stones or water inside the toilet tank to reduce the amount of water in every flush.
7. Place used tissues in the bin rather than in the toilet bowl, and avoid flushing the toilet needlessly,
8. Keep a bucket in the bathroom and laundry area for the grey water that can be used to flush the toilet, clean the laundry area and car port or dampen dusty road.
9. Organize your laundry schedule and wait until you have a full load before using the washing machine. Match the water level to the size of the load.
10. Use laundry water for cleaning used bottles, cans and other recyclables, blinds, rugs, doormats, and car wheels.
11. Collect water dripping from air conditioners and use it in washing mops, watering the plants or flushing the toilet.
12. Do not hose down your driveway or footpath. Use the walis tingting (broomstick) to sweep the place clean.
13. Wash fruits and vegetables in a palanggana (pan) instead of running water from the tap; reuse the water for watering the plants.
14. Do not throw hugas-bigas (rice wash) down the drain; use it for washing dishes or watering plants.
15. Thaw frozen meat in the refrigerator overnight, not on running water.
16. Use fewer cooking and dining utensils and dishes to cut down on the water needed for dishwashing.
17. Do not let the water run when washing the dishes, fill one basin with wash water and the other with rinse water, and do collect the grey water for other purposes.
18. Pick the proper pan and pot size for cooking as bigger ones may need more cooking water than necessary.
19. Do not scrape pans and pots in running water; soak them first to reduce water use.
20. Never waste water served during meals; drink it up!
21. Harvest rainwater through the spout and use it for your essential needs.
22. Water the plants after 5:00 p.m. when temperature is cooler to minimize evaporation and water them only when necessary.
23. Leave grass clippings on the lawn as this cools the ground and holds in moisture.
24. Spread a layer of mulch around plants and trees to retain water and reduce evaporation.
25. Reward household members, especially the kids, for conserving water and for reducing the water bill.