The Sunny Philosopher by Salvador D. Flor, Ph. D. | The woes of waterless summer

“Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink,” lamented a parched sailor in The Rime of Ancient Mariner by English poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, written in 1797-98.

The sailor was aboard a ship stuck in the middle of the ocean, dying of thirst although surrounded by water he could not drink. 

Transport this dismaying scene into today’s Metro Manila and you have an almost similar picture. Metro Manila is going through severe drought. The difference is that the metropolis is hemmed in by parched mountains and rivers and farmlands.

Look at the photo of barren ricelands in Bulacan published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer last week. The landscape is similar to the surface of an alien planet, cracked and smoldering of unseen fire.

In Mandaluyong City last week, Nerisa Aranes of barangay Brangka Driver, was in line for four hours waiting for a water truck to arrive. When it finally showed up, the water ran out before Nerisa could fill her container.

In Tivoli Garden Residences in the big city, tenants had to draw water from the swimming pool after the condo’s water tank had dried up.

Other parts of the country are experiencing water shortage particularly the Visayas provinces. And to think that the best summer months are just starting to show their pangs.

The Pagasa has said that the dry spell will affect 41 provinces, 9 of which will suffer drought. 

Mercifully, Albay and Camarines Sur are not in the path of the burning sun.

In years past, as far as I can remember the occurrence of what could be described as a berserk nature droughts and typhoons and floods – was so distant and remote.

Water, for example, could not be exhausted, because it was God’s gift to His people. Everybody could have it, even the poorest, everybody could throw it away, everybody could misuse it because it was so plentiful.

Alas, that was before. Now we know that this precious liquid is not inexhaustible. We may end up like the thirsty sailor who was surrounded by water but could not quench his thirst.