Assistant Secretary for Communications Joey Villarama —PCO

MANILA, Philippines — The national government has appealed to the public to take “small measures” to conserve water in their households, such as limiting bidet use, as the country tries to deal with a double whammy: a dwindling water supply and a strong El Niño this year.

In an interview, Assistant Secretary for Communications Joey Villarama, spokesman for the El Niño Task Force, suggested several ways that ordinary families could help the country curb the combined effects of a prolonged drought and summer weather.

“The bidet is, in fact, a device that wastes water because it sprays water without restrictions, which is no different [from] a garden hose. Therefore, instead of a bidet, we suggest that families use the traditional 'tabo' (ladle) when using the toilet,” he said.

READ: Filipinos urged to save water, food and energy to cushion the impact of El Niño

Weaker water pressure

Villarama offered the suggestion as he warned that water consumers in Metro Manila and neighboring areas may experience weaker water pressure in taps due to falling water levels in the Angat Dam as this year's strong El Niño continues to increase in the coming days.

According to Villarama, the use of the shell allows residents to better evaluate their water use and leads to a reduction in consumption.

He also advised homeowners to turn off the water supply at night to save water in case of leaks.

Villarama gave more tips, especially about using the bathroom. “Sometimes when we urinate, we may forego the discharge [every time] especially if the stench is not that intense. We can also ask other people to use the bathroom before we flush,” he said.

READ: EcoWaste gives water conservation tips for El Niño

Ditch auto-discharge

A water ladle can also be used to flush the toilet instead of the automatic flush. “Or we can lower the floating mechanism of the [toilet bowl’s] reservoir so that a smaller volume can be used with each flush,” he said.

“As we are Filipinos, 'tabo' is rooted in our culture, so it will be better to use it when bathing. I realized even when I was a student that a bucket of water is enough for a single shower,” he added.

The government is also discouraging the use of inflatable pools — a common way to cool off during the summer, Villarama said.

“[The inflatable pool is] It is not prohibited, but it is discouraged because it consumes a lot of water. We make this appeal to help our country withstand the remaining two months of El Niño and this is one of the water-saving measures we can take,” he added.

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Lastly, the public can make “conscious and deliberate efforts” to conserve water when it comes to their clothing by taking it to dry cleaners, which use less water, Villarama suggested. INQ