LOOK: Mall chain addresses water scarcity in PH

SM Prime

Posted at Aug 25 2022 04:29 PM

Photo source: Pexels
Photo source: Pexels

Utility bill prices are rising and people are having a hard time making ends meet. High cost of living is due mainly by high demand, yet inadequate supply of our needs. When there is no equilibrium between supply and demand, prices tend to rise. 

Weather changes, natural catastrophes, and pollution affect the environment which, in turn, affect our supply needs on food, oil, electricity, and water. 

According to a research, due to the dry season in the Philippines that lasts from six up to eight months, acute water shortages occur and water reserves are sometimes shutdown to help preserve capacity. Other reasons for water interruption in the Philippines are due to pipeline damages or water contamination. Such incidents result in frequent water scarcity in parts of the country.

According to a water service supplier in the country, off-peak water interruptions help prevent the rapid drawdown of water in their reservoirs every noon when its demand is high. 

However, following the dry season is the rainy season during the months of June to November – the country experiences an average of around 20 tropical cyclones per year, causing major rainfall, flooding, and sometimes even loss of lives.

These extreme weather conditions in the country affect people by causing danger to lives and damage to livelihood.

According to the National Water Resources Board (NWRB), measures have been put in place to augment water supply and prevent a looming water crisis scenario. 

But while our water regulatory agencies and concessionaires seek proactive solutions in providing the needed supply, the public is encouraged to do its part responsibly. While environmental changes may be beyond anyone's control, there is something that can be done to help decrease factors that affect our environment. Keeping our environment clean and conserving our much-needed resources are just some ways so that the environment's replacement rate may catch up with people's demands.

"Kaya mas maganda po na magtipid tayo at gamitin ito (tubig) ng tama para mapangalagaan 'yung kasalukuyang pinagkukunan natin," reminds NWRB Director Dr. Sevillano David Jr.
(It is better if we conserve and use water the right way, so that we can take care of our present sources.)

One of the Philippines' leading integrated property developers and a chain of shopping malls has been working hard to pursue its long-term goal on sustainability, so that while the basic needs of the present generation are being supplied, the most basic needs of the future generation will also be met.

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Watch SM's efforts to help the community save on water. Video source: SM Supermalls

SM Prime believes that we need to create ways so that future generations can also enjoy the same environmental benefits that we enjoy now. As part of their mission, SM Prime designed their buildings to be sustainable and resilient by integrating rainwater catchment basins into their properties for flood reduction in order to help vulnerable communities and residents near the malls to remain safe.

SM City Masinag's Water Catchment. Photos source: SM Prime
SM City Masinag's Water Catchment. Photos source: SM Prime

Moreover, the water used in these buildings and malls are recycled water treated in sewage treatment plants. The treated water is brought to the mall by trucks which is then used in water closet flushing, landscape irrigation, and in the cleaning of the building premises.

SM Mall of Asia's Sewage Treatment Plant. Screenshots source: SM Prime
SM Mall of Asia's Sewage Treatment Plant. Screenshots source: SM Prime

The NWRB, the government's regulatory and coordinating agency for water resources management and development in the country, supports families and organizations who make efforts towards a more sustainable environment.

"Ito pong rain water harvesting ay isa pong paraan para po madagdagan 'yung supply natin at hindi po tayo masyadong umasa sa kasalukuyang pinagkukunan natin particular dito sa Metro Manila ay makatulong din po makabawas ng presyo dun sa demand natin na nire-release ng galing sa Angat Dam," shares Dr. David Jr.
(Rainwater harvesting is one way to add to our water supply, so that we will not have to solely rely on the present water source in Metro Manila. This will help lower the price of water that is released from our source which is Angat Dam.)

Dr. David Jr. continuously reminds the public that the water we use is not unlimited and because of our growing population and infrastructure development our demands are growing, so we need to intentionally conserve and create ways to live sustainably.

SM City Marikina's Disaster Risk Reduction features. Photo source: SM Prime
SM City Marikina's Disaster Risk Reduction features. Photo source: SM Prime

If families and homes adopt the same sustainability efforts of large establishments like SM Prime, households too may lessen their water consumption, save on water costs, and may also contribute to a sustainable environment. 

LOOK: Mall chain addresses water scarcity in PH 1
LOOK: Mall chain addresses water scarcity in PH 2
LOOK: Mall chain addresses water scarcity in PH 3

SM Mall of Asia's water conservation efforts.Screenshots source: SM Prime

SM Mall of Asia's water conservation efforts.Screenshots source: SM Prime

SM Mall of Asia's water conservation efforts.Screenshots source: SM Prime

"Honestly ang water namin before is parang P1,000 something like that, kasi malakas kami sa tubig since before pandemic na tuloy-tuloy yung paghuhugas - pang washing machine naming, paghuhugas ng sasakyan - pero this time dumadating 'yung bill naming, P350 na lang o P400 na lang so 'di ba yung P600 or P700 savings na namin s'ya for the future purposes," shares Rhea Ortiz
(Honestly, our water bill before costs around P1,000 because we consumed a lot of water since before the pandemic, we continuously used water to wash dishes, using the washing machine, and car washing - but this time our bill is only P350 or P400, we are able to save around P600 or P700 which we can use for future purposes.)

Ortiz shares that ever since she started saving rainwater for her household needs like watering her plants and cleaning their family car, she has saved a lot on her water bill. She also collects water from their air conditioning, which can almost fill an entire bucket.

SM Prime and its group of companies plan to continue creating efforts for their properties to be sustainable. It also desires to inspire individuals like Ortiz to also live an environmentally friendly and sustainable lifestyle.

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Watch the full video of how SM Prime creates a sustainable environment. Video source: ABS-CBN News

Find out more about SM Prime's sustainability efforts here or connect with them on Facebook.

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