City, BWD take action to avert looming water shortage; Public urged to do its share

BAGUIO CITY – (Feb. 10, 2021) – Mayor Benjamin Magalong and Baguio Water District (BWD) General Manager Salvador Royeca agreed to take measures to avert the looming water shortage in the city even as they jointly urged the public to do its share by helping conserve the precious resource.

This after Royeca raised alarm over the shortfall in water harvesting target in some of the city’s facilities as well as the dwindling yield from underground sources.

“This is the first time that we were not able to fill up the Sto. Tomas rain basin because of the scarce rainfall we have received so far this year although the recovery of our underground sources is now at 80 percent,” Royeca told the mayor.

He said they are able to tap from new water sources but the yield only serves to replace the shortfall from other sources that have nil or declining production.

To ensure continuous supply this summer or until the rainy season, the department had adopted a new water distribution schedule that reduced but ensured equitable supply of water to its 44,326 clients in the different barangays.

Mayor Magalong for this part promised to help the department address problems contributing to the dwindling water yield including the proliferation of illegal deep wells and the uncontrolled operation of the permitted ones.

He arranged a meeting with the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) to discuss the possibility of regulating the operation of the registered water supply businesses and closing those that do not have permit.

City Planning and Development Coordinator Arch. Donna Tabangin said there are 210 permitted water companies drawing from the city’s underground aquifers.  The number of those that do not have permit is still being determined.

In the NWRB meeting set for Feb. 11, the city and the BWD will take the opportunity to directly air the city’s long standing concerns including the devolution to the BWD of the authority to issue Water Permit Applications in the city for regulation and monitoring purposes.

Both officials asked residents to cooperate by practicing water conservation measures at home and at establishments and to take part in protecting watersheds.

Royeca expressed support to the city’s program to require establishments to build their own sewage treatment plants which he said will encourage water recycling.

“We need to promote water recycling especially during the lean months of summer even just for building maintenance.  This is one way to cope with the shortage in face of the widening gap between water supply and demand in our city,” Royeca said.  

The BWD has a total of 75 pumping stations including 56 deep wells, four open sources and two rainwater harvesting facilities. – Aileen P. Refuerzo