Manila Water mulls harvesting rain for Baguio supply

BAGUIO CITY-– Representatives of the Manila Water Philippine Ventures will look at the possibility of harvesting the rainwater during the rainy season as a source to assure stable supply in the future, an official said on Tuesday.

In a phone interview, Lorie Lim, business development manager of the Manila Water, said they will look at the proposal of some city officials to look at harvesting rainwater.

Manila Water on Monday presented a proposed bulk water project for Baguio before city government officials during the Executive-Legislative meeting.

Lim said they are looking at two rivers in Itogon, Benguet town which is capable of producing 50 million liters of water per day.

Their other option is from a river in Tuba, Benguet town, which councilor Joel Alangsab said should be reconsidered as the city government always has difficulty negotiating future projects with neighboring towns.

Manila Water’s proposal will address the future water needs of Baguio which will be at 76 million liters per day by the year 2045.

Lim said Baguio Water District statistics show that the current demand of Baguio residents is 54 million liters a day but the supply is at 50 million, needing the rationing of water to city residents.

She said the future demand will be addressed through bulk water projects, which officials agreed on.
However, city prosecutor Elmer Manuel Sagsago raised the possibility of recouping the high volume of rainwater.

“Just like now, we have received more than 300 millimeters of rain and we don’t benefit from it because we are not able to harvest it,” he said.

He pointed out that in August, the city received an average of 600mm of rainwater, if harvested, can assure that the city will not run out of the natural resource, without the need to extract water from other water sources of other local government units.

Councilor Benny Bomogao, chairman of the committee on public utilities, said the city is open to all possibilities for assured water supply in the future.

Bomogao said the city government’s effort to ask the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) to stop the drilling and extraction of water in the city considering its effect to the aquifers and the supply of the Baguio Water District.

He said several hotels, water deliveries, and other business establishments have asked the city government permission to drill their own water supply./Liza Agoot (PNA)