July 14, 2024

The Baguio Water District (BWD) is planning the imposition of a tax from tourists to generate funds for the establishment of rainwater harvesting facilities in various parts of the city.

BWD General Manager Salvador Royeca made the suggestion to the city council when he appeared before the latter’s session last week.

Royeca said although the BWD has already closed the gap between water supply and demand, providing water to every household 24 hours a day, seven times a week is yet to be achieved.

He said the BWD meets the demand of 45,066.02 cubic meters per day by producing 44,607.43 cu.m. daily from the various water sources. The BWD releases water thrice a week.

But the situation becomes challenging during the peak season of tourist arrivals  where demand for water increases.

Asked about his recommendations on how the city council can help the water distribution utility ensure uninterrupted supply, Royeca has agreed for the establishment of rainwater harvesting facilities is a good alternative and the collection of fees from tourists can help raise funds for the initiative.

He said the additional environmental fee or polluter’s fee can be collected from establishments catering to tourists.

He also reiterated the need to protect the city’s remaining forest covers and a possible intervention to protect the forests supporting the Amliang Creek and Camp 6 watershed in Tuba, which are among BWD’s major sources of water.

Royeca was invited by the council to update members on the city’s water situation and the utility’s plans for the impending impacts of the El Niño phenomenon seen to hit the country on the latter months this year until early next year.

Royeca said part of the BWD’s El Niño contingency plans is the preservation of the water from the Sto. Tomas Raincatch Basin to be used during the “driest operations in 2024.”

The BWD is also currently implementing rehabilitation and expansion projects financed by the P500 million loan the utility availed from the Development Bank of the Philippines in January this year.

Royeca said the amount is used to finance the installation of new expansion or rehabilitation and upgrading of water transmission and distribution lines, expansion of pipelines, construction of water treatment facilities, and acquisition of tools and equipment which are all geared towards improving water supply delivery to the households.

To help the BWD ensure enough water supply, the council asked the City Environment and Parks Management Office and the City Engineering Office to conduct a feasibility study on tapping the water reservoir at Purok 27, Irisan as an additional water source for the city.

The council asked the BWD to intensify its campaign for the establishment of rainwater harvesting facilities in schools, offices, and establishments in the city, and to provide the design for the facilities. – Jane B. Cadalig