Water prioritization policy in city, urged

BAGUIO CITY – (24 February 2021) – As the Summer Capital finds itself in the throes of an impending water shortage, a planning official is pushing for the deployment of a water prioritization policy and requiring water-intensive local businesses and industries to use water-saving technologies.

In Tuesday’s management committee meeting of city officials at Baguio Convention Center led by Mayor Benjamin Magalong, City Planning and Development Officer Archt. Donna Rillera Tabangin said that a “listahang tubig” should also be completed and domestic water saving protocols advocated.

These protocols are:  Repurposing water and using every drop; turn off faucets when not in use; fix leaks; use low-flow; shorten showers; hand water gardens; and capture rainwater.

She cited PD 1067, Water Code of the Philippines, which states: “When priority in time of appropriation from a certain source of supply cannot be determined, the order of preference in the use of water shall be as follows:  1. Domestic and municipal use; 2. Irrigation; 3. Power generation; 4. Fisheries; 5. Livestock raising; 6. Industrial use and; 7. Other uses.”

Tabangin added that in the Water Code of Baguio (ord. no. 13, series of 2007) and PD 957, the minimum water supply requirement for a household connection is 150 liters per capita per day or 40 gallons, 0.7 drum.

A survey on water production and consumption for “other uses” in the city like car wash operations should be conducted, she said, that will ensure that water is not needlessly wasted.

Tabangin pointed out that there are 42 car wash establishments registered as of December 31, 2020, with an average water consumption of 4,200 gallons per day for each operation.

“This is equivalent to the total amount of water consumption of 105 people per day,” she stressed.

City Administrator Bonifacio Dela Pena suggested that car wash owners be asked to recycle the water they use in their operations to save on the precious natural resource.

 Also under the city’s “other uses” of its water resource is the irrigation of the fairways of the city’s three golf courses where they employ rainwater harvesting systems, Tabangin said.

She said that a “listahang tubig” of local water delivery services should be completed that would include information on the condition of water source, production metered, and average daily volume extracted, that would help guide officials on what water conservation strategies to implement.

“Water is life.  We should all do our share in conserving this precious resource before it’s too late,” Tabangin appealed. -Gaby B. Keith