March 5, 2024

Mayor Benjamin Magalong met with stakeholders on Jan. 10 to reevaluate and strengthen strategies for groundwater conservation and deep well regulation amid drought forecast due to the ongoing El Niño phenomenon.

The meeting was attended by the Baguio Water District, Natural Water Resources Board-Department of Environment and Natural Resources, City Water Resources Board, City Legal Office, city council committee chair on public utilities, and the City Environment and Parks Management Office.

Stakeholders sought to craft a strategy that will regulate the proliferation of deep wells as well as come up with doable measures to prevent over-extraction of groundwater and ensure that resources are protected and conserved for future generations.

One concern discussed was the practice of some private deep well owners who make unlimited pumping of groundwater that aggravates the depletion of the city’s underground aquifers resulting in frequent water shortages.

The BWD had raised the concern over the proliferation of private deep wells that caused the city’s groundwater supply to decline years ago.

Engr. Marivic Empizo, Cepmo assistant department head, reported as of August 2023, about 1,001 deep wells without permits were monitored with the volume of water extracted unregulated.

Presently, there are only 215 deep well operations with valid permits in the city.

Empizo emphasized the urgency of the situation, considering that the city’s water resources are under significant strain due to uncontrolled water extraction from numerous illegal deep wells.

Representatives from the meeting called for comprehensive assessments before the installation of new deep wells and the regular monitoring of existing ones to prevent over-extraction. – Danny Killip and Jessa Mardy Samidan