Some of’s Downstream Projects

by Bobby Reyes

Water Treatment Plant Complex | Photo by Lifekey23 via Wikimedia Commons

Part XVII of an “EDEN America” series

As mentioned in last Wednesday’s column, we have to discuss next the “downstream projects.” In the process of making full use of waters from the Mississippi River discharged into the ocean, these are the possible projects related to or that happen at a later stage.

We do not have to look far to spot a potential “downstream project.”

The Associated Press reported on Nov. 17, 2021, that “residents of Jackson, Mississippi’s capital city, are being warned to boil water before using it because of low pressure in the aging water system. The citywide alert was issued after a problem occurred during the weekend at one of Jackson’s water treatment plants, WAPT-TV reported. Charles Williams, the city’s chief engineer, said the issue was resolved but it had drained the storage tanks.”

Read more details at this link.

So many American cities like Flint (Michigan) have the same problem of old-and-broken down water-distribution systems that still use old lead pipes that harm consumers’ health drinking or using for cooking and washing, contaminated tap water.

There is a need to establish a modern manufacturing facility to make affordable pipes without any lead or other harmful metal. Because water (plumbing) pipes are under constant pressure and, therefore, most likely to cause water damage when they leak. They now use alloys of brass, copper, and galvanized steel to manufacture water pipes. They last anywhere from 40- to 70 years, depending on the quality of the pipes and labor skills.

“There is a need to establish a modern manufacturing facility that can make affordable pipes without any lead or other harmful metal in them. Because water (plumbing) pipes are under constant pressure, and, therefore, most likely to cause water damage when they leak.”

In 1982, as the founder and president of the Sorsogon Ceramic Manufacturing Corporation (SOCERMAC), this columnist and the firm’s treasurer visited nine ceramic plants in the boondocks of Italy. ( Ideally, they locate ceramic plants closest to the quarry of clay deposits.) During the 3-day trip by car, we discussed many ceramic-related topics during meals or coffee/vino breaks with an Italian ceramic engineer and an Argentine-Italian ceramic industrialist that accompanied us. Yes, topics like also establishing a research-and-development (R&D) center in the proposed ceramic factory in the Bicol Region.

I asked the Italian engineer why the world has not come up with “ceramic water pipes.” He said that it is more expensive to fabricate them than metal pipes made of brass, copper, and steel alloys. He explained that they make”ceramic water pipes from clay and glazed. They are primarily hand-made with clay which turns into ceramic after it’s ‘baked in a kiln.

These hand-crafted water pipes and bongs come in different shapes, designs, and measurements. Some are thicker than others while some can be small.” But he said that modern engineering could do so many things not done before. In short, nothing is impossible from the engineering viewpoint. But the R&D center should make sure that the finished ceramic product is competitive with the metal ones — both from the angles of pricing, quality, competitive labor costs, but it can beat the metal ones in safety, health-wise, and product life span.

But due to political events that happened in August 1983 in the Philippines, the SOCERMAC project was shelved. The Italians did not want to proceed with their 40 percent investment in the project after the assassination of then political-opposition leader Ninoy Aquino. Perhaps the projects can revive the idea and manufacture someday ceramic pipes.

“Instead of purchasing fire-fighting helicopters and/or contracting Canadian water-dropping aircraft to use against forest fires, it would be less expensive — in the long run — to construct instead the said “crop terraces.”

Reforestation of the rivers’ watershed areas is another downstream project. And it can come by constructing “crop terraces” in mountainous regions, especially close to where rivers begin. I mentioned in this column before that Civil Governor William Howard Taft offered in the early 1900s to resettle in the United States the tribes that built more than two millennia ago the “Banaue Rice Terraces” in Northern Philippines. There would have been few forest fires now in California and other Western states. In fact, in some Native-American Indian (NAI) tribal land in San Diego County (CA), avocado trees are being cultivated successfully. For irrigation, the NAI farmers built a big water storage tank at the top of the mountain and use piped-in water to nourish the fruit trees. And prevent forest fires.

This columnist wrote further that there are so many cost-effective ways and means to prevent forest fires. Instead of purchasing fire-fighting helicopters or contracting Canadian water-dropping aircraft, or both, to use against forest fires, it would be less expensive — in the long run — to construct instead the said “crop terraces.” They could do this in the arid lands of Arizona, California, Nevada, and other Western states by planting cactus and other fruit-bearing cacti species like the dragon fruit (also known as pitahaya or a strawberry pear – the fruit of several cactus indigenous to the Americas.) Pitaya usually refers to the fruit of the genus Stenocereus, while pitahaya or dragon fruit refers to the fruit of the genus Selenicereus, both in the family Cactaceae.)

Goats are Mother Nature’s weed killers. And to control weeds, they can raise flocks of goats simultaneously in the watershed areas of the reforestation projects. And raising goats can lead to the canning of goat’s meat (a Halal food for export to Islamic countries), milk, cheese, and leather. Then another downstream project can follow, such as the manufacture of shoes, handbags, belts, and other leather products from processed goatskin.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.