Alternative water resources
Conventional water resources such as groundwater and surface water are depleting. Either they are polluted, drying up, or just not sufficient enough to provide water supply for the people. Alternatively, methods like Rainwater harvesting and Water reclamation are used in lieu of sustainable water management. This way, conventional water resources can replenish and reduce the shortage of supply. (Andersson, et al., 2016)
Rainwater Harvesting is the process of collecting rainwater from rooftops or open spaces then keeping it for later use. The water collected can be used for agricultural needs such as irrigation and land management. It can also be used domestically, for household chores such as washing, flushing, laundry, and if properly sanitized, filtered, and treated, for drinking.
In a tropical country like Philippines, typhoons and storms are prevalent. However, in areas like Metro Manila, despite of getting a fair share of rainfall, water shortage is still experienced. This is where rainwater harvesting comes in, since collecting rainwater and keeping it for later use will secure the water supply during summer instead of letting perfectly usable water go down the drain and flood the streets during rainy seasons.
This system can be applied in almost any sectors that largely utilizes water, such as residential buildings, school grounds, factories, public buildings, and even farmlands. Currently in the Philippines, DPWH, as of 2016, is installing 187 rainwater collectors in public schools, and public markets where water is limited, in order to satisfy the increasing water supply demand and mitigate the frequent flooding in Western Visayas (PIA, 2016). On the other hand, cities like Quezon, Davao, Cebu, Mandaluyong, and Iloilo have implemented environmental programs and have adapted this system to preserve their current water resources (DOST, 2016).
Reclaimed water is the method of recycling and reusing wastewater for other purposes. Like rainwater, It can be used domestically, agriculturally, and recharge conventional water resources. Reusing water instead of groundwater for daily supply not only reduces water scarcity but eventually once the reclaimed water is discharged back into freshwater, it can no longer be a nuisance and pollute the water. Instead, it will be able to improve the ecosystem and replenish aquifers. (Bischel, et al., 2013)
Reclaimed water is capable of fulfilling almost all of human water needs, as long as it is sufficiently treated to guarantee water quality suitable for utilization. Most commonly, recycled water are not used for drinking since health problems could be threatened in any case that the wastewater is contaminated or is not thoroughly treated for human consumption. Nonetheless, it is used in many different ways (EPA, n.d.). Architecturally, it could be used to make concrete, flush toilets, irrigate gardens and for fire protection, and aesthetic or recreational impoundments.
Philippines struggle with wastewater management. But in 1995, a reform was made and regulatory frameworks were developed to lessen wastewater discharge and increase its reuse. The government and private agencies joined forces in order to accelerate the development with the goal that by 2028, the whole Metro Manila will have an efficient wastewater management system and reuse it safely. Through this, agencies and citizens involved are able to reduce water pollution and regenerated resources of food and water supply.