El Niño drying up Cebu’s 'Little Amsterdam'
CEBU, Philippines – El Niño is taking its toll on Cebuano farmers and business owners alike.
The owner of the Sirao Garden, popular among tourists as Little Amsterdam, revealed that the flower farm is suffering from water scarcity due to drought.
“Dako gyod ang epekto sa na-experience nga drought. We no longer have enough water to supply the flowers, that’s why we need to buy water from other sources,” said Alfred Chua. (The effect of the drought is huge.)
The 2015 to 2016 El Niño weather phenomenon began its decline earlier this year, but affected areas in the country continue to feel its impact, especially on livelihood and water supply.
At least 5 areas in Mindanao, the region that is most affected by the El Niño phenomenon, declared state of calamity since March 2015.
The provinces of Cebu and Bohol recently declared state of calamity due to dry spell.
Finding other sources of water
The Celosia flowers are the main attractions at the Sirao garden. The postcard-worthy garden is not only a breath of fresh air in Cebu but also a welcome boost to the local tourism of Busay, Cebu City.
The Sirao garden became popular in October 2015 after a blogger discovered it and wrote about the place. Many people since then came to Busay, Cebu City.
However, farmer Severino Ople shared how the drought has affected the garden and the growth of flowers.
“Grabe ka init karong panahona nga sa sobra kainit nangliki na ang mga yuta,” Ople said. (The temperature is so hot that the land has cracked already.)
“Lahi ra gyod, oi. Sauna mubarog man gyod nang mga buwak. Pero karon murag dili na kahunat og tubo ba,” Ople said. (It is really different. Before, the flowers really bloom unlike now. It seems like something has prevented its growth.)
He added that because of the water shortage, they need to get water from other water sources. They also have to pay P40 for each drum of water. The garden consumes 8 drums of water every day.
To address the effects of El Niño, Chua put up 6 inches of pipes to gather greater volume of water.
Chua also decided to invest in deep wells to help the farmers and to meet the requirement of 5000 gallons of water every two days.
The drought that is being experienced in the area left farmers and land owners with no choice but to find alternatives to keep the business going. – Rappler.com
Apple Grace Danuco is one of Rappler's Cebu Mover