May 24, 2024

(Editors’ note: The Midland Courier is reprinting the columns of the late Atty. Benedicto T. Carantes as a tribute to one of its long-time columnists. This piece was published on July 13, 2008.)

At this time of year, with the onset of the rainy season, water – or the shortage of it – should not be a problem, but believe it or not, even in this cold weather, it seems the Baguio Water District has placed itself in hot water.
There is no water coming out of the faucets, and not a few neighborhoods are boiling mad.
And why not? There are 128 barangays in the city, and of this number, supposedly only three barangays are getting water on a daily basis – namely, barangays Camp John Hay, Country Club, and SM.

But why is the BWD unable to deliver water services to the city?
The explanation given by critics is that there are too many directors being appointed for reasons of politics; a manager who has been on the job too long, and whose water bag has yet to burst, who probably needs to go on a sabbatical leave.
Or the city simply doesn’t give a damn.
But wait up, the last I heard, BWD management is wracking its brains trying to solve the city’s water problems, and one of the solutions being proposed is deep well drilling.
Not being a water man, I can only nod my head, but Buddy Batcagan, former Environment assistant secretary, says that “Water drilling is only a short time and temporary solution, and may not even be a solution at all.”
Besides, Buddy adds with a naughty wink, “There’s money to be made in water drilling.”

Why am I suddenly reminded of the unworkable electric transformers that Benguet Electric Cooperative made use of some years back, which caused quite an uproar among member consumers?
I think some people made money then, but as the brownouts became more frequent, the excuse given was this or that transformer went boom because of the overload.
Others said, however, that the costly repairs of the second-hand transformers initially bought at booming prices meant more and more money in the pocket of an enterprising executive in cahoots with a certain repair shop.
That was all electrifying gossip however, and nothing came out of the issue, which eventually died a natural death.
All water under the bridge, as they say.

But it is not brownouts this time that is making us suffer. It is lack of water, meaning you need to buy water twice a week for your sanitation needs, because quite shockingly, on the days you are told that water would be coming out of your faucet, as per BWD service arrangement, your faucet instead turns up dry for days on end.

Egad, but why am I being billed for water I never got to use?
Efficiency-wise, it is not water delivery which is done on a regular basis – it is the billing.
Unbelievably, the BWD always bills you right on the drop, water or no water.
Now I have no idea how BWD’s billing system works, but Buddy Batcagan quips that the water you consumed – or did not consume, there being none – has nothing to do with their billing.
It is how they read your meter that registers the volume of water based on the air coming out of your faucet.
In other words, it is what BWD says you owe them, not payment for water that you never got to see in the first place.
But hey, that’s my neighbor Buddy Batcagan talking.
And the really funny, if not sad part, is that I believe him.
There is a ring of truth to what he says.
If there is nothing Buddy never does, it is to speak with a forked tongue.
I guess it has something to do with his U.P. and Texas A & M educational background.
That means BWD has a lot of explaining to do.
But first, let’s make sure the baby is not in the tub when we throw out the bathwater.
That’s American slang meaning be careful when you chop off heads with a dull samurai. Otherwise, you drown in the flood.
But where will bone dry BWD get the water?