Sunday, March 23, 2014

PHL lags behind ASEAN neighbors in terms of water

Water source at Biak-Na-Bato National Park in San Miguel, Bulacan.  DB

MALOLOS CITY—The Philippines ranked ninth of 11 Southeast Asian countries in terms of total actual renewable water resources per capita, according to United Nations (UN) data.

This came as the UN led the World Water Day on March 22.

The UN report also showed that among 11 ASEAN countries, the Philippines also ranked ninth in dam capacity per capita; fourth in population with access to improved water sources; and fifth in percentage of population with access to improved sanitation.

The report defined the total actual renewable water resources as the maximum theoretical yearly amount of water actually available for a country at a given moment (TARWR) per capita.

It also said that “it takes into consideration the long-term average annual flow of rivers and recharge of aquifers generated from endogenous precipitation, the flow of bordering rivers and lakes, and the water inflow and outflow secured by treaties.”

In this category, the Philippines ranked ninth with only 121.32 cubic meters per inhabitant per year.

It is way behind Lao Democratic Republic with 54,565; Cambodia with 34,061;  Brunei Darrusallam with 21,684; and Malaysia with 20,752 cubic meters per inhabitant per year.

The Philippines also ranked ninth behind 10 other Asean countries in dam capacity per capita.

The UN defined the above category as the total cumulative storage capacity of all dams in a country per capita.

They stressed that the dam capacity indicates the sum of the theoretical initial capacities of all dams, which does not change with time.

However, the UN report noted that the amount of water stored within any dam is likely less than the capacity due to silting and due to the fact that few dams operate at capacity.

UN report showed that despite presence of large dams in the Philippines, its capacity per capita is only 70.76 cubic meter per inhabitant.

This record made the Philippines just above Singapore with 15.16; and Timor Leste which showed no record in UN report.

The Democratic Republic of Lao again topped this category with 1,287 cubic meter per capita followed by Thailand with 1,117; Malaysia with 848.70; and Myanmar with 329.50.

For population’s access to improved water sources, the Philippines ranked  fourth with 92 percent of population.

It is behind Singapore and Malaysia,both with 100 percent; followed by Thailand (96) and Vietnam with 95.

The UN report defined the category as “the percentage of the population who use any of the following types of water supply for drinking: piped water, public tap, borehole or pump, protected well, protected spring or rainwater. Improved water sources do not include vendor-provided water, bottled water, tanker trucks or unprotected wells and springs.”

For percentage of population with access to improved sanitation, the Philippines ranked fifth with 74 percent; behind Singapore (100 percent),Thailand and Malaysia (96),Brunei (94) and Myanmar with 76.

Access to improved sanitation is defined as “the proportion of the urban and rural population with access to facilities that hygienically separate human excreta from human, animal and insect contact.”  Dino Balabo