Baguio to have enough water supply despite El Niño

santo tomas basin
RESTORED WATER SOURCE. The Mount Santo Tomas basin. Rappler photo
‘The rain catchment has fully restored water and will be utilized during summertime when our spring sources cannot be tapped,’ says the Baguio Water District

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines (Jan. 26, 2016) — Water supply for Baguio City residential and commercial establishments will be sustained despite the threat of El Niño, according to the city’s water distributor.

Baguio Water District (BWD) General Manager Salvador Royeca said spring sources have fully recovered to their normal levels after the rainy season late last year along with the rain catchment in Mount Sto Tomas.

Presently, the utility uses its spring sources to deliver the city’s daily demand of 55,000 cubic meters of water. Royeca said should El Niño deplete the spring sources, BWD will use its water reserves from the Sto Tomas rain basin.

“The rain catchment has fully restored water up to 14 meters and will be utilized during summertime when our spring sources cannot be tapped,” Royeca assured.

Aside from the spring sources, BWD also operates 57 deep wells to supply the daily water requirements of 317,200 consumers.

However, Royeca called on consumers to start collecting rain from their households as well. He also asked commercial establishments to develop rain catchment systems on their rooftops to conserve water.

“While the effects of El Niño may not be felt in Baguio, we still have to educate our consumers on water conservation,” he said.

BWD is eyeing another rainwater harvesting facility inside the Busol Watershed that is now up for hydrology study. This will determine the volume of rain that could be tapped and stored inside the forest reserve, and the cost of constructing a harvesting facility.

To sustain Baguio’s water supply, Royeca said rain harvesting facilities must be developed as underground and spring sources usually take longer to replenish. He also said most of the watersheds in the city are being encroached by settlers.

Meanwhile, to hasten further the recharging rates of existing watersheds, BWD is also digging artificial ditches inside Baguio’s watersheds – which include Busol, Buyog, and Camp 8 watersheds – for runoff water to seep easily into the underground wells.

BWD has also started its routine inspection of water distribution lines to detect and plug leaks. In addition, illegal tapping that worsen systems loss have been disconnected. Royeca said systems loss has been gradually reduced to 25% in 2015, from 45% systems loss in past years.


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