Category: Uncategorized


Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects to economic, environmental, and social issues. Our student Lauren Perry makes this connection in Mumbai, India, where infrastructure and socioeconomic inequality threaten water resources. This current event was reported in The Mumbai Mirror on November 19, 2018, under the title “No one to detect water leaks in half the city as BMC disband”, by Chaitanya Marpakwar. The piece details the stresses on the water distribution infrastructure of Mumbai, India. The water shortage problem has its roots in the depletion of the seven lakes that supply water to Mumbai. A recent April report shows that the dammed lakes are at 26% capacity, the lowest in three years (Pinto, 2019). An article from urban issues magazine Citizen Matters based in Mumbai corroborated the sources of water shortages (Hepzi, 2019), adding that the 43 and growing amount of skyscrapers in the city add stress to the already tenuous water pressure provided to residents, as more energy must be expended to pump water to height of 100+ stories.

The Compounding Water Shortage Problem

In addition to the source-related issues of water shortages, there are other infrastructure problems that stem from socioeconomic issues. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), whose motto “Where there is Righteousness, there shall be Victory” reflects the heroic task of supplying 18 million residents with clean water (Subbaraman & Murthy, 2015), is responsible for building and maintaining hydraulic infrastructure in Mumbai. A main responsibility of the BMC is to check for leakages and failures in the water distribution system, which account for losses of 30% their total water. However, BMC has defunded contractors whose job it is to respond to reported leaks and pressure drops. The dwindling manpower as well as the 100-year old failing infrastructure make for unreliable clean water sources (Marpakwar, 2018).

The volume of potable water lost to leakages has been estimate at 650 million liters in the last year (Marpakwar, 2018), but this estimate is difficult to quantify. This is because most “leakages” are actually illegally tapped spouts used by poor residents to get water they would otherwise be barred from using. Tapping into the main water line decreases flowrate and pressure, lessening the pressure downstream for other residents and further compounding the water shortage.

The criminal drafting of the mainline leads to a positive feedback loop that creates more water losses – the haphazard welding of smaller pipes onto the mainline cause leakages at these connections, and the cheap piping material, often buried underground to avoid detection, is easily broken from cars and foot traffic over time, leading more illegal pipes built to replace them (Anand, 2012). In order to properly understand how severe the water distribution problems are, more information on the piping system is necessary, such as how pressure head is achieved, how much do they need to sustain flowrate, and what is the flowrate of through BMC pipelines.

Social and Economic Causes and Effects

Population growth and rural flight are contributing to the 18 million and growing population of Mumbai, 41% of which live in slums. The skyrocketing population puts a stress on infrastructure and resources, and the slum-dwelling lower and middle classes are bearing the brunt of this weight. While the Indian government has cycled through many slum rehabilitation programs since the 1960s, the programs frequently overlook the distribution of clean water. Under the current program, residents who have settled on their land prior to 1995 are considered “notified” and are entitled to water access from the municipal water supply, among other benefits (Subbaraman & Murthy, 2015). While it is progressive for the government to recognize slum-dwellers, the early cut-off date bars newer residents who have settled in the last three decades, as well as those who cannot prove their residence. The issue of delivering water to Indians living in slums has become a human rights issue. While the wealthier areas of Mumbai like Dahisar and Malad are provided with 24-hour water access, residents of poorer areas received only buckets a day. Compounded by the strict caste system in place, slum-dwellers have little to no economic and social mobility, making access to better homes, jobs, and resources difficult. For these Indians, it is easier to purchase water access from the local “water mafia” that controls illegal facets than to get government approval for water rations. In some cases, BMC engineers are a part of the untaxed economy that sells illegal water to poor residents (Lewis, 2009).

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Figure 1. Mumbaikars gathering at an illegally tapped underground pipe, fighting for access to clean water. (Photo by Manoj Patil/Hindustan Times. (Telponde, 2017).

In a journal article for AnthroSource, author and Mumbai water resources expert Nikhil Anand makes the figurative connection between the water pressure demanded by citizens and the political pressure put on politicians and professionals to provide adequate water for their citizens. From the tapping of water mains to illegal pumps provided by renegade plumbers, residents otherwise deprived of clean water have found ways to circumvent the corrupt and inadequate water distribution system the BMC provides (Anand, 2011).

The inequality and inefficiency of infrastructure makes it difficult for engineers to rectify the failing water system. Without knowing how much pressure and how many connections are needed to provide water to residents, it is impossible to calculate and design an adequate system. This engineering challenge can only be solved with the social and economic improvement of disenfranchised neighborhoods, as well as with the cooperation of the Indian government and BMC. Where there is righteousness there is victory, and without the social and political pressure to force ethical water practices by the government and residents, there is little hope for victory in the near future.

References:

Anand, N. (2012). Municipal disconnect: On abject water and its urban infrastructures. Ethnography13(4), 487-509.

Anand, N. (2011). Pressure: The politechnics of water supply in Mumbai. Cultural Anthropology26(4), 542-564.

Telpande, J.U. (2017). In Just 10 Years, India Is Going To Face A Massive Water Crisis [Blog post]. Youth Ki Awaaz.

Marpakwar, C. (2018, Nov 19). No one to detect water leaks in half the city as BMC disband. Mumbai Mirror.

Lewis, C. (2009, Dec 2). BMC turns a blind eye to illegal water connections. Times of India.

Subbaraman, R. & Murthy, S.L. (2015, Apr 6). The right to water in the slums of Mumbai, India. World Health Organization.

Anthony, H. (2019, Apr 6). In the news for heavy rains every year, why is Mumbai still water-deficient? Citizen Matters.

Pinto, R. (2019, Apr 8). Mumbai: 25% water left in dams, lowest in 3 years. Times of India.

Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects to economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student Jessica Mink makes this connection in Chongqing, China. This current event was reported in Clean-Energy-Ideas on March 22, 2019, under the title, “The Three Gorges Dam Project” by James Bratley. This is likely real news, based on independent analysis on this current event on February 25, 2019 by Britannica.

The Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River generates the largest amount of annual hydroelectricity in the world, with an installed power capacity of 22,500 MW (Bratley, 2019). The controversial dam not only produces year-round electricity for the nation but also provides seasonal flood control and improves ship navigation along the river. Although the construction of the dam began in 1994 and was completed in 2006, it is a topic worth revisiting, as this massive engineering project has created both positive and negative long-standing impacts concerning the economy, environment, and neighboring Yangtze river communities that are still encountered today. This report has failed to inform the reader about the progressive steps made by China who has committed to the protection of the Yangtze river. Due to the construction of the dam, along with the construction of multiple dams along the water source, pollution has increased, and the river’s ecosystems have deteriorated. Due to the insistent pressure from International Rivers, Ministry of Environmental Protection and the support from the Chinese government, at the end of 2017, an area known as the Yangtze River Economic Belt has been designated. This eliminates the motion for the construction of new industry projects within a one kilometer stretch to protect the last area of the river with free-flowing water (Jensen-Cormier, 2019). The intentions of the Three Gorges Dam were to produce clean energy for the citizens, which unfortunately led to related environmental issues; this step forward allows for the partial preservation of a beautiful natural resource, before it’s too late.

Societal, environmental and economic issues dictate key aspects of the Three Gorges Dam, making it an exceptionally contentious topic. The event relates to the economy, which has benefitted from the implementation of the dam as it has facilitated trade, improved transportation of both cargo and passengers by river use, promoted tourism, and provided large parts of the nation with necessary electricity, while also creating thousands of jobs for the people throughout the production of the dam. It is important to consider societal impacts that have stemmed from the construction of the dam, including relocation of thousands to millions of people from their homes (Bratley, 2019). Other key concerns involve fear of dam the collapsing and the potential catastrophic results since the dam area is located near a seismic fault. This is valid concern considering the large quantities of water contained and the possible occurrence of an earthquake or landslide event (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2019). The most profound impacts have related to the environment. The construction of the dam alone removed 102.59 million m3 of earth (Bratley, 2019). The alteration of the surrounding landscape for dam and reservoir construction has deteriorated the climate, caused a removal of plant and wildlife species due to a destruction of habitats in the area, and has led to water pollution created by land erosion, which also impacts biodiversity. Although there are disadvantages to this infrastructure, it positively impacts the environment through the use of clean energy as opposed to the burning of fossil fuels. The reservoirs large storage capacity, 22 km3, is also beneficial as it reduces seasonal flooding (Bratley, 2019).

The model of the Three Gorges dam has been replicated domestically and internationally.  China Three Gorges Corporation is looking to implement a similar $5.7 billion (US) hydropower project. This too will have an environmental impact, although the company has committed to a $22.6 million (US) program to protect the environment throughout construction, with emphasis on waste water treatment, declaring that they will restore the landscape when the project is completed. This project is projected to generate 3.2 billion kilowatt hours of electricity per year and is estimated to provide more than 3,000 jobs and additional training to Pakistani hydropower engineers (Yangpeng, 2019). Although drawbacks are apparent when constructing an engineering project of this magnitude, it is important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages. Hydroelectricity is a clean energy source that eliminates the burning of fossil fuels and contributes to the reduction of harmful emissions, which ultimately is a step in the right direction.

Figure 1: Above is an image of the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River. This grand and controversial infrastructure has provided China with clean, reliable, renewable energy and economic growth.

References:

Bratley, J. (2019). The Three Gorges Dam Project – Clean Energy Ideas. [online] Clean Energy Ideas. Available at: https://www.clean-energy-ideas.com/hydro/hydropower/three-gorges-dam-project/ [Accessed 12 Apr. 2019].

Encyclopedia Britannica. (2019). Three Gorges Dam | Facts, Construction, Benefits, & Problems. [online] Available at: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Three-Gorges-Dam [Accessed 12 Apr. 2019].

Jensen-Cormier, S. (2019). China Commits to Protecting the Yangtze River. [online] International Rivers. Available at: https://www.internationalrivers.org/blogs/435/china-commits-to-protecting-the-yangtze-river [Accessed 13 Apr. 2019].

Yangpeng, Z. (2019). CTG chief: Chinese dams will help electricity-starved Pakistan. [online] South China Morning Post. Available at: https://www.scmp.com/business/companies/article/2119898/china-three-gorges-pakistan-dams-will-benefit-electricity-starved [Accessed 12 Apr. 2019].

Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects to economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student Nathan Hengy makes this connection in Rio de Janeiro. This current event was reported in Public Radio International (PRI), on February 9th, 2017, under the title, “Rio’s water cleanup barely works and it’s crimping impoverished fishermen,” by Will Carless. The pollution of Rio’s Guanabara Bay and the Brazilian government’s continuing failure to clean it has been an issue documented by multiple news organizations. This trend shows that the short comings of environmental protection reported in the article are legitimate.

Guanabara Bay contains high levels of petro-based waste from oil industries, as well as garbage and sewage. The sewage issue stems from a lack of wastewater treatment plants in surrounding rural communities, so people are forced to dump waste directly into the bay. The contamination has killed fish in the bay or made them inedible (Garcia-Navarro, 2016). Guanabara Bay’s pollution is therefore both a water treatment infrastructure and an aquatic ecosystem remediation problem.  The Brazilian government has continuously failed to apply water resources engineering principles to address the issue; instead, they have made the quality of life worse for people who depend on the bay (Carless, 2017). The article was written well for the intended audience. Naturally, it did lack specific water resources information, such as biochemical oxygen demand, heavy metal concentration, and other quantifications of water quality, because it was not written for engineers.  A reference to a scholarly water resources engineering article relevant to the story would improve the PRI report.

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The water quality of Guanabara Bay plays an important role for Rio de Janeiro; it is a tourist destination and a source of fish for local communities. This makes the health of the bay critical for the social, economic, and physical health of Rio as a whole. Many subsidence fishermen depend on the bay as their main source of food and income (Garcia-Navarro, 2016). The contamination of the bay further exacerbates their troubles by reducing the amount of fish they can sell or eat. The pollution also makes the bay less desirable to visit, hurting the city’s large tourism industry. Environmental health of the bay has degraded due to the lack of wastewater treatment plants. This led to a continuous accumulation of oil, sewage, and flotsam ultimately making the bay partially inhospitable (Carless, 2017). The degradation of environmental quality is also a self-perpetuating issue. Brazilian researchers found that plastic debris in the bay can carry bacterial biofilms through the water, enabling a dispersal of fecal bacterial contamination (Silva et al., 2019). The main societal issue is that Brazil’s response disproportionally inconvenienced fishing communities, while doing very little to actually clean the bay. The government installed eco-barriers, which are floating barriers that trap floating oil and garbage; however, these structures blocked fishermen’s access to the bay. Fishermen then destroyed the barriers, as they had to get to the bay to get food to survive. Even when the eco-barriers remained in tack, they only stopped about 7.5-percent of the trash (Carless, 2017).  The Brazilian government did not consider the needs of rural people, causing greater social inequality. Without applying sustainable water resources engineering systems, rural fishermen will face greater economic hardships and the quality of Guanabara Bay will only get worse.

References:

Carless, W, (2017, February 09). Rio’s water cleanup barely works and it’s crimping impoverished fishermen. Public Radio International. https://www.pri.org/stories/2017-02-09/rio-s-water-cleanup-barely-works-and-it-s-crimping-impoverished-fishermen

Garcia-Navarro, L. (2016, June 17). For Olympic Sailors And Fishermen Alike, Rio’s Dirty Bay Sets Off Alarms. National Public Radio. https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2016/06/17/482458856/for-olympic-sailors-and-fishermen-alike-rios-dirty-bay-sets-off-alarms

Hearst, C. (2013, December 10). Rio’s Waters Continue to Face Pollution Issues. The Rio Times. https://riotimesonline.com/brazil-news/rio-politics/rios-waters-continue-to-face-pollution-issues/

Silva, M.M., Maldonado, G.C., Castro, R.O., de Sá Felizardo, J., Cardoso, R.P., dos Anjos, R.M., & de Araújo, F.V. (2019).  Dispersal of potentially pathogenic bacteria by plastic debris in Guanabara Bay, RJ, Brazil. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 141, 561-568.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X1930164X

 

Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects to economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student, Alyssa Hughes, makes this connection in Kolkata, India. The current event was reported in The Better India, on February 2, 2017 under the title, This Ecological Miracle in Kolkata Is Also the World’s Largest Organic Sewage Management System, by Sanchari Pal. This WRE current event is likely to be accurate because the book, Wastewater Management Through Aquaculture, includes a case study that assessed the environmental impacts of the East Kolkata Wetlands, written by Ghosh, S.

Kolkata produces almost 750 million liters of sewage a day but has zero wastewater treatment plants (Pal, 2017). The East Kolkata Wetlands take in all the sewage produced from the city and organically treats it using bioremediation. Wastewater treatment is an intensive process that can be expensive, especially for large cities such as Kolkata. Using wetlands for sewage treatment is an environmentally friendly and cost-efficient way to manage the city’s waste. The East Kolkata Wetlands are important news for WRE because other cities could follow in Kolkata’s footsteps and choose to build wetlands for sewage treatment instead of expanding their current wastewater treatment facilities. Although this article explains the many benefits that the East Kolkata Wetlands bring to the surrounding area, it does not quantify or describe the quality of the water after treatment and whether it is better or worse than if the water were to be treated in a wastewater facility.

Kolkata is one of India’s largest cities and struggles with poverty and pollution. The East Kolkata Wetlands provide many economic, environmental, and societal benefits to the city. Not only does the wetlands treat wastewater at practically zero cost, they also are a vital source of food for the city. They create a nutrient rich place to grow crops that provide about 40 to 50% of the greens sold in Kolkata city markets. They also create a productive fish habitat, producing 10,000 tons of fish each year (Pal, 2017). The wetlands provide huge societal and economic benefits by providing the local farmers and fishermen a source of income in an area that would otherwise have limited employment opportunities. An environmental issue that Kolkata struggles with is flooding, especially during monsoon season. The wetlands were designed to act as a natural spill basin by storing the excess discharge from the high amounts of rainfall that would normally flood the city’s streets. Unfortunately, India’s real estate market has become increasingly interested in developing the wetlands with commercial buildings that would displace much of the local community (Pal, 2017). The article, “Biodiversity, traditional practices and sustainability issues of EastKolkata Wetlands: A significance Ramsar site of West Bengal, (India)” by Sayan Bhattacharya (2012) states the over 22,000 low income and economically marginalized families rely on the fish and vegetables produced from the East Kolkata Wetlands for livelihood. If the wetlands were to be reduced by real estate land development, many people would be without a source of income or food.

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Figure 1. The East Kolkata Wetlands of Kolkata, India receive the city’s sewage where it is naturally treated through microbial action. The wetlands provide many ecosystem services to the surrounding area by suppling fish, creating a nutrient rich place to grow vegetables, and acting as a natural spill basin. (Picture taken by Soumyajit Chowdhury)

References:

Bhattacharya S. East Kolkata Wetland Paper. Academia.edu. https://www.academia.edu/2071464/East_Kolkata_Wetland_Paper. Published November 6, 2012. Accessed March 31, 2019.

Chowdhury S. Conservation Land: An Integrated Conceptual Framework towards the in situ Biodiversity Conservations in India. Animal Diversity, Natural History and Conservation. 2015;5.

Ghosh S. Wastewater-Fed Aquaculture in East Kolkata Wetlands: State of the Art and Measures to Protect Biodiversity. Wastewater Management Through Aquaculture. 2018:119-137. doi:10.1007/978-981-10-7248-2_6.

Pal S. This Ecological Miracle in Kolkata Is Also the World’s Largest Organic Sewage Management System! The Better India. https://www.thebetterindia.com/84746/east-kolkata-westland-dhrubajyoti-ghosh-organic-sewage-management/. Published February 6, 2017. Accessed March 24, 2019.

Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects to economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student Nicholas Sims makes this connection in Hangzhou, China. This current event was reported in the China Dialogue on October 1, 2012., under the title, “China’s thirst for water transfer”, by Gong King and Cui Zheng. This is a reliable and likely accurate news source because it is an independent, non-profit, and non-governmental organization which focuses on environmental issues throughout China as well as the rest of the world. The China Dialogue is composed of offices in London, England as well as in Beijing, China. Much of their staff has backgrounds in the environment as well as literature.

This current event relates to water resources engineering because China is depriving themselves of clean water and must divert a separate clean water source on a large scale to the city of Hangzhou, which has a population of 7 million. Rapid industrialization and urbanization had dramatically decreased the quality of the Qiantang River, Hangzhou’s drinking water source. This article explores the plan named the “Qiandao Lake Project” which aims to bring water from Qiandao Lake in Chun’an county to Xianlin, which is closer to Hangzhou. This 20-billion yuan project represents an intensive and large-scale engineering project for water resources engineering that had previously been ignored, although much needed in Hangzou and numerous other cities in China. China’s population has increased by 700 or 800 million people in the last few decades which has led to tremendous demand for an increase in clean water. Some important WRE details left out in this article include life expectancy of the water source, distribution details, project start date, and which treatment plant will be used.

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Figure 1: Qiantang River in Hangzhou, China

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Figure 2: Qiandao Lake taken from atop a bell tower

Water resource issues affect many aspects of life in Hangzhou, which include the economy, environment, and society. Economic development, which includes industrialization and urbanization, has been a trend throughout the last few decades in China that seems to be important (Oxford Scholarship, 2017). Unfortunately, with as much financial stability as China has, the country has not put much emphasis on water infrastructure needs until recently. Many argue that closing the gap between infrastructure needs and investment creates jobs to strengthen the economy. In light of water quality needs, China has a country has recently placed a large emphasis on environmental issues which likely resulted from an increase in population from rapid industrialization. This has brought about conversation within the Chinese government on how they can aim at reducing pollution to water sources. Hangzhou has societal issues they may not even realize. Instead of solving their water pollution issues, they have resorted to finding new water sources instead of cleaning up the polluted sites. This may have profound impacts down the road. This news shows the importance of water resources engineering due to its effects on the present and future state of Hangzhou, China.

References

Chinadialogue.net. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinadialogue.net. Published May 22, 2018. Accessed March 26, 2019.

China’s thirst for water transfer. 中外对话 China Dialogue. https://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/4722-China-s-thirst-for-water-transfer. Accessed March 26, 2019.

O’Rourke KH, Williamson JG. Industrialization in China. Oxford Scholarship. http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198753643.001.0001/acprof-9780198753643-chapter-9. Published March 14, 2017. Accessed March 26, 2019.

The Importance of Clean Water. Water Footprint Calculator. https://www.watercalculator.org/water-use/importance-of-clean-water/. Published October 24, 2018. Accessed March 26, 2019.

Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects to economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student Anna Kauppert makes this connection in Mexico City, Mexico. This current event was reported in New York Times, on February 17, 2017, under the title, “Mexico City, Parched and Sinking, Faces a Water Crisis”, by Michael Kimmelman. This news is unlikely to be “fake” news as it is also reported on in many other publications, one of which is an article by Jonatan Godines Madrigal in the Proceedings of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences (PIAHS) journal.

Mexico City has a long history of water problems, since it was built on a series of lakes. When the area was first taken by the Spaniards, they drained the lakes and built over the ground completely. This has led to a history of floods and a lingering need to import water. Adding to the story is the ground the city is built on. The land in the area is a mix of clay and volcanic soil that interact with water differently. Because of these differences and their uneven mixture, as the water table below the city is lowered from pumping out water, the ground above settles unevenly. This interaction between ground and water, and the need to import water from elsewhere to provide for the citizens, is how the Mexico City water crises is related to water resource engineering. This dilemma is important for WRE because it provides a challenge that is important to resolve. Humans will not cease to require water or group together in cities, so providing adequate water supplies in any environment is an important thing to be able to do. One thing that was missing from this article was if there are any other untapped water sources in the area.

Mexico’s water problems affect every aspect of the community living in and around the city. Economically, water and its delivery has become a highly valued product, with deliveries costing many people the bulk of their income because they cannot rely on their tap water both in having water in the system and having usable water in the system. Environmentally, the lack of water and the resources that go into importing water are concerning. The complete depletion of the aquifer underneath Mexico City has wide-reaching impacts beyond simply the lack of water for residents as that’s where most cities obtain their water from (Godinez). It affects the round stability and interferes with the natural water cycle of the area. The importing of water from other sources also causes disruption to those sites it’s coming from as well as all the intervening sites as the infrastructure must be put in place and maintained in order to continue to transport water. Socially, the water crisis further widens the gap between classes due to the high cost of obtaining water in the city and the needed infrastructure to transport it. That infrastructure is not as upkept if it is present at all in the poorer areas of the city and the less well-off residents must pay more to obtain water in the outskirts as well as needing to spend time transporting it the final way to their houses.

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Figure 1: Some residents rely on “pipas,” large trucks with hoses that deliver water from aquifers

References:

Kimmelman, M. (2017, February 17). Mexico City, Parched and Sinking, Faces a Water Crisis.   Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/02/17/world/americas/mexico    city-sinking.html

Madrigal, J. G., Zaag, P. V., & Cauwenbergh, N. V. (2018). A half-baked solution: Drivers of      water crises in Mexico. Proceedings of the International Association of Hydrological      Sciences, 376, 57-62. doi:10.5194/piahs-376-57-2018

Water Resource Engineering (WRE) requires engineers to meet current needs while expanding capacity as needed for the future. Our student Meghan Medwid makes this connection in Manila, The Philippines. This current event was reported in The Philippine Star on August 30, 2018, by Louise Maureen Simeon. Manila Water Co., Inc., which is responsible for providing water and sanitation to much of Metro Manila, has expressed concern about providing for the city’s growing water need for several years. The company claims that without additional infrastructure, residents may face water shortages or drops in water quality. This specific challenge to meeting water demand is unlikely to be “fake news.” Other news outlets in the city, including Business World also reported on an impending water shortage starting in 2021.

Manila Water Co., Inc. currently is developing several large water resources to increase the water available to their current and future customers. The company is part of a hydroelectric project associated with the Kaliwai Dam; part of the water from that reservoir will be available for use by Manila Water Co., Inc. upon completion of the project. However, based on current and expected demand, Manila Water Co., Inc. sought to build a treatment facility on Laguna Lake to increase water availability. This proposal was denied (Simeon, 2018). The predicted water shortages may mean customers inconsistently have enough water, there may be outages, and pressure in the pipes may be too low to prevent infiltration into the pipes. If non-treated water infiltrates, the residual chlorine may not be able to prevent contamination by outside pathogens (Simeon, 2018). Planning for water demand and ensuring safe, potable water are both areas of high importance in WRE (Chin, 2013). Water resource engineers around the world are scaling up water treatment and trying to find new sources of water for ever growing cities. Learning how to better work with municipalities in order to prevent insufficient service is an increasingly important part of WRE. The article does not explain the quality or quantity of water in Laguna Lake or explain alternatives to that lake that may help Manila Water Co., Inc. provide water while the dam project is being completed.

WRE takes places in the context of economic, environmental, and societal issues. The cost for providing sufficient water in the future needs to be considered with the people being asked to pay for this new facility and the environmental impacts of increased water consumption. The Kaliwai Dam project is expensive and is already leading to an increased rate hike for Manila Water Co., Inc. customers. The official reason for not approving the new facility is that it will be too expensive. The Laguna Lake project would lead rates to almost double. Manila citizens who depend on Manila Water Co., Inc. have expressed concern about insufficient safe water in the future (Simeon, 2018).  The societal and social issues are intertwined as Manila Water Co., Inc. is a for-profit organization. This complicates the responsibilities of decision makers. This may also mean that additional capacity could be added by the company but may result in lower profits or bonuses. Large scale water resource projects can have negative environmental consequences. Many organisms can be displaced and whole habitats can be removed. This environmental damage can lead to additional social unrest as people protest to prevent such destruction. Shokhrukh-Mirzo Jalilov has studied water resources and the increased need for clean water in urban areas within The Philippines (2018). This study takes a new approach to understanding the impact of improving water supply systems. Most analysis only considers the benefit of cleaner water and not the environmental costs. Jalilov’s study is in line with vocal groups within The Philippines who are concerned that urban water resources will further deteriorate rivers, lakes, and other water bodies.

medwid.pngFigure 1: Map of Kaliwa Dam Project. The water source and the conveyance route to Manila are shown, along with justifications for the project.

References:

Chin, D.A, (2013), Water-Resources Engineering Third Edition, Pearson.

Jalilov, S.-M. (2017). Value of Clean Water Resources: Estimating the Water Quality Improvement in Metro Manila, Philippines. Resources7(1), 1. MDPI AG. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/resources7010001