Mayor & BWD warn as water crisis looms
Mayor Benjamin Magalong and Baguio Water District General Manager Salvador Royeca called on owners of private deepwells and water delivery businesses against over-pumping of water and doing abusive practices that harm the city’s water table.
The two officials made the call in a coordination meeting last March 27 to address the water crisis currently experienced in the city and its prognosis in the light that the summer season had barely started.
One concern discussed was the practice of some private deepwell owners to over-extract their water sources for profit.
“It is sad that there are people who think only of their business and what they can earn without any regard to what they are doing to the environment. Please be warned that over-pumping of water and other activities that harm the environment are against the law,” Magalong said.
The mayor and the BWD head will again meet with the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) to request for intensified regulation and monitoring of the operations of the registered water supply businesses.
They will also again ask the board to address the proliferation of illegal deepwells, which is one of the identified causes of the declining yield of the city’s water sources as these deplete the recharge areas of the city’s underground water sources resulting to the decline in pumping water levels.
In 2021, the city listed a total of 210 permitted water companies drawing from the city’s underground aquifers while the number of those that do not have permit was still not determined.
The mayor said the crisis is real based on the numerous complaints received at the city’s level. “And this is concerning, considering that we are just at the beginning of summer,” he said.
Royeca said BWD adopted measures like augmenting supply for the affected areas particularly the elevated ones by tapping existing sources with excess in yield and by streamlining water supply schedules to ensure continuous supply.
He said long-term solutions continue to be pursued like exploration works and drilling of more wells.
Both officials also urged the public to help conserve water in their homes, offices, and establishments with these tips:
Repurpose water and use every drop;
Recycle water by reusing laundry water for flushing toilets, cleaning bathroom or washing cars;
Turn off faucets when not in use, say when brushing your teeth;
Fix leaks. Report or repair leaks immediately;
Use low-flow devices/materials. Water-saving gadgets are available in the market;
Shorten showers. Take a bucket bath or short showers;
Use a bucket or dipper and discourage children from playing with water;
Hand-water gardens. Use a bucket and dipper instead of a water hose;
Capture rainwater. Practice rainwater harvesting in your homes with the use of ordinary asphalt drums;
Use basins in doing laundry to avoid overflow of water when laundering with hands. Use washing machines with full loads only;
For car wash companies:
Shorten car washing time;
Use water saving devices;
Recycle water used in operation;
For private and public vehicle owners: Reduce instances that their cars are washed.
The BWD has a total of 46,726 active connections being supplied by its 77 pumping stations, 63 deepwells, four open/spring sources, and two rainwater harvesting facilities. – Aileen P. Refuerzo