by Hanna C. Lacsamana
Three major projects worth more than P300 million that will address the looming water shortage in Baguio are on the pipeline.
In a symposium hosted by the Soroptimist International North Central Luzon District on Thursday, Baguio Water District General Manager Salvador Royeca announced that BWD has secured grants from the national government for BWD’s proposed rainwater harvesting facility at Busol Watershed, the concreting of Sto. Tomas Rain Basin, and re-piping of BWD’s deteriorated distribution system.
Implementation of the projects, which are aimed to improve water supply and distribution system, is expected to begin this year.
Royeca said the rainwater harvesting facility that will be constructed at Busol costs P139M and has 63,000-cubic metercapacity. The project is set to undergo bidding at the Department of Public Works and Highways, its implementing agency.
Royeca said the national government has also granted their request for funding to concretize the surface of the Sto. Tomas rain basin, to enhance and maximize its storing capacity.
The project, which costs P92M, has already been bid out.
Under the tourism program of the national government, BWD has also secured P112M for the re-piping of the BWD distribution system at sub-systems 5 and 6 covering barangays Dagsian, Hillside, Greenwater, Teachers’ Camp, and Leonard Wood. The project aims to improve the water supply and to further reduce non-revenue water or systems loss.
BWD also started working on the requests for funding for the three projects in 2015.
“Baguio is lucky for getting the grants. If we have taken out loans for these, we would have been compelled to increase our rates,” Royeca said.
Royeca said BWD is currently adjusting current measures to be able to address the increasing demand for water in the city. Aside from increased population, rapid expansion and climate change contributes to the city’s water shortage.
If nothing is done, he said the city’s water source will be further depleted and a major water crisis is expected in 2025.
“We are trying to close the gap between the decreasing supply and high demand for water. We have been successful in lowering systems loss from 47 percent in 2006 to 26 percent in 2016. We are aiming to lower it further to 20 percent,” he said.
Aside from these measures, he said BWD started operating new production wells in some barangays, plans to construct three more, and intends to rehabilitate some of them within the year.
They are also continuing their forest and watershed management programs, the fencing of the Busol Watershed, which is 47.96 complete; and working on the elimination of illegal water connections.
BWD records in 2015 show the utility water firm has a daily supply capability of 41,504 cubic meters a day in 2014 but the actual daily demand of the 312,209 city residents was pegged at 58,367 cubic meters.
In 2015, BWD projected its daily supply capacity at 42,594 but the actual demand of the 317,189 city residents was pegged at 60,047.
The recorded city population comes from the 122 barangays being served by BWD. The six other barangays have their own source of water.