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City, BWD to ask NWRB for control in management of water resources

The Baguio Water District will be meeting with the National Water Resources Board to introduce reforms including the grant of regulatory powers to the district over the city’s water resources.

The meeting brokered by Baguio mayor Benjamin Magalong will see BWD General Manager Salvador Royeca propose six recommendations.

This, the mayor said, will expectedly translate to better management of the city water resources and also allow the city to invoke its water code which mandates the localized control of water resources as provided by the local government code.

Royeca’s proposal include the issuance of a moratorium on the acceptance of Permit to Drill and Water Permit Applications and on the issuance of Permits to Drill and Water Permits to individuals and entities for water sources in the city.

This aims to conserve and protect the city’s underground aquifers which are in danger of drying out due to uncontrolled tapping.

The BWD practically competes with water delivery establishments in sourcing water from the city’s aquifers.

Royeca said the effect is being felt now as shown by declining recharging capacity and yield of the BWD-operated deep wells.

“We hope that in this meeting, we can find a common ground so that the necessary reforms can be done to protect the city’s water resources,” Magalong said.

The other talking points are:

1. For the BWD to install production meters on the private deepwells and to impose Production Assessment Charges (PAC) as provided for and authorized under PD 198 otherwise known as the Local Water Utilities Act, the governing law of the local water districts. The PAC will cover administrative and monitoring costs of the BWD and the production meters to be installed will provide technical data as to the extraction of underground water by these private deepwells.

2. For NWRB to recognize the City Water Code on its provisions to regulate, control, and monitor the City’s water resources and private well drilling activities.

3. For the NWRB to issue a moratorium on the acceptance of Permit to Drill and Water Permit Applications and Issuance of Permits to Drill and Water Permits to individuals and entities for water sources in the City of Baguio except for BWD.

4. To involve BWD in the approval of water permits for those sources within the jurisdiction and authorize the BWD to monitor and regulate the rate of water extraction of permitted private deepwells in the City of Baguio.

5. For the DENR to strictly regulate and control uphill gardening surrounding the rain basin to protect the quality of stored water at the impounding structure.

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