June 23, 2024

The renewed campaign to protect and preserve the Busol and Buyog watersheds, two primary sources of potable water for thousands of Baguio residents and visitors as well, must be sustained, being a prerequisite for the city’s sustainability and for its future generations.
If left unguarded from illegal human activities ranging from encroachment for residential and commercial structures to illegal logging, the consequences could be dire, as this city whose economy is highly dependent on education and tourism would surely suffer from any prolonged water crisis which would certainly happen if Busol and Buyog watersheds would be gone to the dogs.
Simply put, Baguio may have to draw potable water from its neighboring towns of Benguet to supply the needs of thousands of its residents and tourists. But Benguet likewise is also beginning to experience water shortage, made worse by the absence of their own water districts, except for the capital town of La Trinidad.
The ambitious Bulk Water Supply Project (BWSP) of BWD which required any winning bidder to guarantee the availability of around 50,000 cubic meters of potable water daily from outside sources to address the water shortage issues especially during summer never materialized due to several factors.
This means the call for the city go-vernment and BWD to protect and preserve what is left of Buyog and Busol, including the remaining watersheds in the Summer Capital, becomes imperative.
Undeniably, however, the responsibility to preserve Baguio’s critical watershed does not end with the city government and BWD. Residents must also recognize their role as custodians of these watersheds. Aside from helping in reporting illegal activities within these watersheds, residents have many more roles to play such as promoting sustainable practices like water conservation and tree planting activities.
Partnerships and collaborations with environmental organizations, academic and civic institutions are also essential, as integrating different pers-pectives and engaging stakeholders in decision-making processes could result in more inclusive and effective approaches to conservation and preservation of these watersheds.
It is also high-time for environmental or civic groups to sustain the gains of the multi-awarded “Eco-Walk,” a visionary and sustainable initiative that involves children in preserving and restoring the ecological integrity of the Busol watershed.
As we have stated time and again, there is no better substitute for invol-ving children in the preservation of urban forest covers, especially the watersheds and reservations, for the present and future generations to enjoy. Over the past decades, children, through the Eco-Walk program, have taken the lead in preserving the watersheds by walking the talk in keeping a balanced ecology.
Under this program, children are brought directly to areas where the water cycle can be best understood, among which is the Busol watershed, instead of learning about the environment inside the classroom. The program allows children to lead in environmental conservation, and its success has inspired leaders and adults to support the prog-ram and heighten community commitment to environmental concerns.
Preserving the Busol and Buyog watersheds is not just an environmental issue; it is a matter of sustainability, resilience, the well-being and the very survival of future generations.
Afterall, we don’t want to reach the time when conflicts of the future shall be fought over potable water, and not just oil.