MANILA, Philippines-Manila, the Philippines capital and one of Asia’s most populous cities, is sinking and may go the way of Venice unless its people stopped pumping ground water for bathing and other needs, experts warned Thursday.
The phenomenon of subsidence, caused by the drying up of aquifers as a result of over-extraction of water, threatens not only Manila but also nearby areas that have also seen rapid migration and development, said Fernando Siringan.
The geologist from the Marine Science Institute at the University of the Philippines did not give the rate of sinking, saying only that the metropolis of 12 million people faced potential water and marine product shortages, flash floods, and even infrastructure damage.
“Originally, the Italians never planned to make Venice a city permanently submerged in seawater. It was built above water, on the valley of Italy,” Siringan said in an article posted on the environment and natural resources department website.
“But because the Venetians were so much dependent on groundwater, the subsidence was tremendous; the place later became submerged in water. But the Venetians adapted very well, and so they did not destroy the structures of Venice,” Siringan said.
Ramon Alikpala, head of the government’s National Water Resources Board, said the subsidence problem was complicated by the fact that large areas of the city are actually situated below sea level.
“There is already saltwater intrusion in some parts of Metro Manila because of over-extraction and the lack of recharging of the aquifer,” he said.
Read moreManila is sinking, say experts