• Water – waste not



    I was just thinking of the onset of summer and about the same time my farm manager tells me our water pump is down. Yesterday, I made sure I drank more than the usual amount of water and topped it off with buko juice for good measure. Truly, it is going to be a hot summer.

    Last month I spoke with a lady from Singapore whose business is to convert domestic food waste to water—at least water for watering plants and washing floors but not for drinking. Would not it be nice if our malls installed such equipment to reduce the food waste that comes from food outlets? And have water for their utility people to use to clean toilets and other public areas?

    Last week, Davao people said they did not have a drop of water coming through their taps. And also last week, a café owner from Zamboanga told me they are now rationing water in the city. This is a bad sign.

    I am not a water expert but I know we need to do something different—like convert water from waste or desalinate sea. We must not let the tap run and conserve water while brushing our teeth. We also need to avoid car washes and other wasteful practices at least during this hot dry spell.

    Next is asking for water in restaurants only if we will really drink it. I know of some people who won’t drink service water anyway. They bring their own imported bottled water because they cannot drink service or filtered tap water. And because of marketing by bottled water manufacturers, diners find it “safer” to drink bottled water. Then maybe cafes are better off serving water only to the brave, and only when and if they ask.

    In many conferences now, water is served upon request. Wasteful bottled water is not encouraged like in Dusit Hotel, which promotes green meetings. Even their pencils are recycled and their water is served filtered from the tap. Kudos to Evelyn Singson, the chairman of Du¬sit for promoting this water habit. I have not heard of any guest get stomach problems from drinking such water anyway.

    I see more people now bring their own “kangen” water or alkaline water, or lemon water like Yoly Ong, another MAP member who brings her familiar yellow vacuum bottle to meetings. They bring their own containers and they do not consume the water of hotels or restaurants. That is also a good and thoughtful practice.

    But what shall we do about water for our farms and gardens? This brings me back to my trip to Dubai where the vegetables were growing in sand and nourished by salt water. It is possible. But for us in the hills of Amadeo, the sea is quite a distance. Maybe we should start looking at uses for salt water?

    Maybe our water companies can start a CSR or Creating Shared Value by teaching people how to save water and how to reuse water, if possible. Like, did you know water purifying and refilling stations get rid of some water which can be used by laundromats. The combo business (a water station and a laundromat)is symbiotic if not complementary. This is why we see this set up in many places. The laundry can use the excess of the water station. Ingenious!

    Who will teach us how to innovate on water supply? Do we need scientists, business people or government to spearhead it?

    Meanwhile, we need to save water always. As for me, though I drink a lot of water, I am happy sitting in the shade drinking my fresh buko water. And it’s fresh from the tree in our little farm.

    But our farm really needs water badly. And we pray for this hot dry spell to pass quickly.

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    Chit Juan is a founder and owner of ECHOStore sustainable lifestyle, ECHOmarket sustainable farms and ECHOcafe in Serendra , Podium, Centris QC mall, Davao, Cebu City, Antipolo and Iloilo City. She also is President of the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines and President of the Philippine Coffee Board Inc., two non-profits close to her heart. She often speaks to corporates and NGOs on sustainability, women empowerment, and coffee. You can follow her on twitter.com/chitjuan or find her on facebook:Pacita “Chit” Juan. Email her at puj@echostore.ph


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