Easy ways to prevent a water shortage

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) – You may have read the headline to this article and thought: “What for?”

In fact, you may be thinking that there’s no need to worry about the country’s water resources, especially since the Philippines – as an archipelago is completely surrounded by water.

But not so fast. The Philippines may have oceans and seas in all directions, but these don’t make the country immune to dry spells and “dried taps.”

Water does run low in PH

It goes without saying that water is absolutely vital to human life.

Its uses range from being a clear liquid that people can drink, to forming a vital part of our national economy.

International environmental group Greenpeace said in a 2007 report entitled “The State of Water in the Philippines” that the agricultural sector used 85 percent of the country’s water supply – with the industrial sector and households evenly splitting the remaning 15 percent.

If we – ordinary people – only use seven percent of the water, why should we be so concerned?

That’s because the water used by farmers helps to grow the food we eat. In other words, a water shortage has a massive domino effect on everything from our food supply, to the price of goods.

Indeed, the Agriculture Department said the El Niño in 2016 caused at least P5 billion in agricultural losses, affecting over 200,000 hectares of farmland.

Read: Enjoy vacation, scenery but conserver water - DENR

At a smaller scale, the El Niño in 2015 led to reduced water pressure and even no water in parts of Metro Manila.

WATCH: Coping with water shortage

This is particularly problematic, especially since Greenpeace noted in its report, eight years prior, that Metro Manila -- along Metro Cebu, Davao, Baguio City, Angeles City, Bacolod City, Iloilo City, Cagayan de Oro City and Zamboanga City – is among the urbanized areas nationwide where water is consumed intensively.

Adding to these issues, Greenpeace said, is the uneven distribution of water resources across the country, often resulting in water shortages in highly populated areas, as well as the deterioration of watersheds due to logging and mining activities.

What you can do

So how can we fight off these threats to something so precious, especially in a country where water shortages could cause great damage?

Short of becoming expert rain dancers, remembering the basics is a great start in conserving water.

For instance, did you know that a broken faucet can drip enough water to make 20 bowls of instant noodles?

Read: How bad is a leaky faucet?

In fact, Colgate suggests something so simple, you’d wonder why you didn’t think of it first: Turn off your faucet while brushing your teeth.

The company said you waste up to 8 gallons of water every time you leave your faucet on. Put another way, that’s the equivalent of 30 1-liter bottles of water down the drain.

Colgate is bringing simple tips like this on a global scale through its “Save Water” campaign, which has so far resulted in people saving over 373,000 gallons of water a day.

Here are some things you can do to stem the tide:

  1. Fix broken faucets and pipes or invest in more water-efficient plumbing.
  2. Collect rainwater in buckets or basins. Just make sure to cover these afterwards to prevent mosquito larvae from thriving.
  3. Water plants before sunrise or after sunset so that water isn’t lost due to evaporation.

Got any other suggestions? Send them through our social-media accounts using the hashtag #EveryDropCounts or #SaveWater.