Baguio short of water by 60T cm daily

BAGUIO --- The water district here is 60,000 cubic meters short of supplying the daily water needs of the city until June.

Engineer Albert Arenas, Baguio Water District assistant general manager, said a study conducted by the water district showed that demand for water in the city was rising in line with the increase in its population.

Contributing partly to the problem is the number of foreign and domestic tourists flocking to Baguio, added Areneas.

The city, at present, needs around 95,000 cubic members of water but of this, the district can only supply 35,000 cm.

Arenas also cited the decrease in the water level of the deep wells that serve as the city's sources of water.

The water district is apprehensive since the remaining reserve in the deep wells may not be able to sustain city residents until the rainy season, which starts June this year.

Records show that in January 2001, only 10 percent of the water table level was reduced.

But a year after or this January, the water level was already reduced by 40 percent leaving the city with only the remaining 60 percent to last until the rainy season.

As short-term solutions, the district has resorted to rationing the water equally throughout the city and reducing and scheduling the distribution of supply in some areas.

High areas like Brookspoint, Quezon Hill, Dominican, and Asin will only get water once a week while those in lower locations like Aurora Hill, Pacdal, Quirino Hill, QM, Kilometer 8, and Pingit will be supplied twice a week.

The central business district will be rationed daily but only from 9 a.m. to 12:00 noon. The schedule in the delivery of water to some areas will also be changed.

For example, some parts of Aurora Hill such as Brookspoint, Ledesma, South Central, Lower and Upper Malvar Street, East Bayan Park and Rimando Road, which are being supplied by water from two Ambiong deep wells, will only have water for one to three hours.

As a long-term solution to the water shortage, the district is rehabilitating its equipment.

Another project the district is eyeing is the replacement of all defective water meters in households.

Since some meters are slow, they are paying less for the water they are using as against those with fast meters who are paying more.

The BWD has been able to replace 612 meters, 115 of which were found to have low efficiency and 40 with high efficiency.

The replacement will ensure that the billing for water consumption is fair, said the water district.

At present, the district is only operating seven of its 15 deep wells. Although the remaining wells produce water, the supply is not suitable for residential use.

The district cited a deep well along Camp Allen that is producing water that smells of oil. The BWD research laboratory tested it and found out that it has oil, grease and hydrocarbon particles that are difficult to treat and dangerous to the health of the residents.

Arenas though said the city will have enough water by 2004 when the district's various projects and programs are implemented.

Among the district's plans is to rehabilitate water networks starting in May this year, which will include the installation of water reservoirs, pumps, and repair of pipes with leaks to ensure sufficient water supply.

The district is also thinking of enlarging the piping networks so water supplied to various residential and commercial establishments will be sufficient.

This project has been delayed due to lack of funds. The terms of reference are also being drawn and will need the approval of the Office of the President, the BWD said.

Arenas, however, is optimistic that by next year, kinks in the project will finally be ironed out and its implementation approved for 2004. (Lowela Espinol-Intern)