September 30, 2023

The City Environment and Parks Management Office has issued a notice of violation (NOV) to stop a private deep well drilling operation in a commercial building at Lourdes Subdivision Extension.

Engr. Sofronio Pascua of the Cepmo Environmental Management Division told Mayor Benjamin Magalong that the owner already stopped the drilling activities but Cepmo will continue to monitor the establishment.

The incident was reported to the mayor by a concerned citizen and was immediately inspected by City Buildings and Architecture Office personnel with the findings submitted to the Cepmo and the Baguio Water District for action.

BWD General Manager Salvador Royeca also ordered a separate inspection by the BWD technical staff last July 11 where it was confirmed that the drilling operation was for commercial purposes and that it had no permit or clearance from the city government. 

Unpermitted deep well drilling is in violation of the city’s Environment Code and the Clean Water Act.

Magalong said as of Dec. 31, 2022, unregistered private deep wells in the city were reported to have increased to 327.

The mayor and the BWD head recently met with the National Water Resources Board to again appeal for the regulation of private deep wells in the city.

The city has for years been asking the NWRB for the devolvement of the function to regulate and issue permits to deep wells to the local government in the hope of stemming the proliferation of illegal wells that deplete the city’s water supply and damage its aquifers, to no avail. – Aileen P. Refuerzo