Dead fish that were landlocked when the waters subsided can be found around the water camp area

The star-lit tapestry in the sky signals the end of our first day at camp.

The day started at around 5AM when I was met in the office with colleagues, friends and comrades from Greenpeace, who like me were also preparing their gear for the camp.

A few minutes prior to our departure I wrote of my Facbook status: “umalis para hanapin kung saan galing ang tubig na iniinom mo.” (left to discover where our drinking water comes from.)

Where does your drinking water come from?

The reason I wrote this is because a few days ago we started asking this question to people on the street and in the internet; and to our surprise almost everyone we’ve interviewed we were greeted with the same top-of-mind response from different folks which varies from: I don’t know; to their faucet, the water utilities board, their water distributor etc, but every now and then there would be one or two who would state the La Mesa Watershed as their answer, and what’s surprising about this is that given that almost everyone in Manila, consumes water from their faucets very few really knows where their water comes from.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGbIUrwhSxQ]

The Angat Watershed Reservation

To quickly answer the question one needs only to know that the Angat watershed provides 500 million gallons per day to Metro Manila, which is almost more than 90% of our potable water. It functions as the main source of water for the Angat Hydro-electric power plant and also serves as the primary source of irrigation water for about 31,000 hectares of Riceland in Bulacan and Pampanga. Sadly, its water levels are declining at an incredible rate.

Overlooking view of Angat lake.

Bearing witness

The Greenpeace Water Watch Camp.

We came here to bear witness to the urgency of water scarcity even now as experts say that we might be undergoing a more prolonged than usual dry season due to the El Nino phenomenon.

As we stage our camp here, in spite of the abundant blue waters that surround us the land was still parched and the waters are drastically receding.

So now as I sit starring at the lush overlooking view of Angat lake listening to the wind I can only do nothing but write about what I see as well as about my feeling of awe and waste as so much of these water go to waste by the time it reaches Manila.

Chuck Baclagon