June 22, 2024
FROM RAINWATER TO DRINKING WATER — As part of its conservation and recycling efforts, SM City Baguio launched the first of its kind rainwater treatment facility on July 4, which will convert rainwater into potable water. The facility was established in SM Baguio as the city was identified to receive high rainfall volume every year. The facility can draw and store a total of 51 million liters of rainwater in a year. — Ofelia Empian

With the establishment of the first of its kind rainwater treatment facility that can purify rainwater into potable water, SM City Baguio can reduce its reliance from the city’s water source by at least 175 cubic meters a day.

During the mall’s launching of the project on July 4, SM Supermalls Senior Vice President Bien Mateo said the system would help supply potable water that can be redistributed to mall tenants for their various uses such as washing, cleaning and make it safe for drinking.

Mateo said the project would also leave more water supply for the Baguio community to use, as the rainwater catchment system installed in the mall can draw a total of 51 million liters of rainwater a year.

The computation was based on the rainfall volume recorded by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration in Baguio City in 2022.

The water volume is equivalent to 20 Olympic-size swimming pools, 13.4 gallons of drinking water, 375,510 full baths, and 672,318 10-minute showers. 

“We invest in water conservation technology to eliminate water wastage and adopt stricter measures to reduce consumption. More innovations are being done to recycle more water and filter more rainwater across the properties and estates of SM Prime,” Mateo said.

Environment Management Bureau-Cordillera Officer-in-Charge Jean Borromeo said Baguio has an annual average of 900 to 4,000 millimeters of rainfall, the highest in the country. However, it still experiences water scarcity.

Borromeo said the project could also help in the prevention of flooding and landslides in the city as the rainwater catchment system could lessen the volume of flowing water during heavy rains.

SM Prime Holdings Senior Assistant Vice President for Operations Marc Jansen Pe said the mall consumes a daily average of 460 cubic meters from the Baguio Water District.

SM Prime also reported it has already installed water catchment basins in 25 malls nationwide.

Pure O3 General Manager Merlin Andrew Te, the company that installed the filtration system that will turn the rainwater from potable water, said the rain water collected from the mall’s catchment reservoir will be treated.

The harvested water will then go through a six-treatment process – multimedia filtration, water softener, activated carbon, ultra filtration, reverse osmosis, and ozonization.

The filtered water can then be safely used for drinking and made available for mall clients and mall goers.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong lauded the efforts of the giant mall chain stating that he hopes the project would also be replicated by other establishments.

Magalong said the city government also has an ongoing plan of putting up a rainwater treatment facility as a means to recycle water, especially with the huge volume of rainfall in the locality. – Ofelia C. Empian