Guidelines for setting up water pumping stations sought

Council Betty Lourdes Tabanda has called on the  concerned offices to create guidelines for the establishment of water pumping stations in order to increase the water supply in the city.

In a resolution passed on April 5, Tabanda requested the Baguio Water District (BWD) to coordinate with the City Engineering Office, the City Buildings and Architecture Office, the City Planning and Development Office, the Environment and Parks Management Office, and the Department of Works and Highways-CAR for the formulation of the said guidelines.

Tabanda noted in the resolution that the BWD is looking for sites that may serve as water sources in order to adequately meet the city’s water demand.

The lady councilor observed that water pumping stations have been established in various areas in the city including parks, thus asserting the need for a thorough assessment where they should be placed strategically. This is to ensure compliance with zoning policies and other regulations of the city in relation to other developments, she said.

The city is expected to experience water shortage this summer due to the depletion of groundwater reservoirs.

The city’s declining water supply has prompted the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) earlier this year to look into the problem of illegal deep wells which could be contributing to the water shortage.

Last month, Mayor Benjamin Magalong and BWD General Manager Salvador Royeca agreed to take measures to address the water shortage in the city and urged the residents to observe water conservation practices.

The Baguio officials earlier requested the NWRB to require all water-related activity proponents in the city to secure water permit or clearance from the city government prior to NWRB’s issuance of a water permit, stating that “the NWRB and the city government share the responsibility to regulate water-related activities and allocate sufficient water for optimal beneficial use for the residents.”

Under Resolution 133-2021 that was signed by Mayor Benjamin Magalong, the city council stated there is a need for the NWRB and the local government to address the shortage of water supply in the city.

The council disclosed that the city does not have a large and steady source of water and that it relies solely on natural springs, deep wells, and rainwater catchment for its water supply.

In 2019, the city council in a resolution reached out to the BWD expressing concern about the increasing drilling activities of private deep wells in the city and the over-pumping of wells contributing to the depletion of the city’s aquifer.

In their letter addressed to the council, the BWD revealed that 10 deep wells had been downsized since 2018 to prevent over-extraction and to save on power costs. –Jordan G. Habbiling with reports from Aileen Refuerzo