City to pilot test groundwater recharge facility

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The city in partnership with concerned government agencies and private higher education institutions will be pilot testing the operation of an artificial groundwater recharge facility to maximize the annual huge volume of rainfall to recharge the depleted aquifers.

The study on the development of artificial groundwater recharge facility will be jointly undertaken by the Cordillera offices of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-CAR), the environment department’s Watershed and Water Research and Development Council (WWRDC), the University of the Cordilleras (UC) and the city government.

The project will involve the gathering of rain water from the roof of the Baguio swimming pool which will be directed to a catchment and filtration area before being injected to the aquifer through an injection well that will be constructed purposely for real time recharging.

Based on the project proposal, the city will provide a counterpart of P2.5 million to construct the injection well within the proposed project site that will serve as the real time recharger of the aquifer using the rainwater from the roof of the Baguio swimming pool after it is filtered.

The study will have a duration of 2 years where the constructed facilities, together with the provided monitoring devices, among others, will be turned over to the city government for possible replication in other areas in the city to ensure the immediate recharging of the aquifers to help ensure the stability of water supply for the city.

Based on initial studies, the city gets an annual rainfall of around 965 to 4,064 milliliters which is the highest among localities in the country.

The study group disclosed that the recharging of the aquifer using this technology will be real time unlike in the natural recharging process which will take years for the groundwater to reach the aquifer and this can be replicated in other strategic areas in the city.

According to the group, the Burnham Park area, particularly at the site of the swimming pool, passed the criteria of the DOST for the conduct of the pilot test on the development of the artificial groundwater recharge facility to ensure real time recharging of the aquifers during the rainy season where there is always a huge volume of rain in the city.

Earlier, the Baguio Water District (BWD) reported the possible occurrence of water shortage in the city following the drying up of several of its deep wells and water sources and had it not for the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019  (COVID-19) pandemic, the people and the tourists could have felt the serious negative effect of the scarcity of water in the city.

Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong assured the members of the study group that the local government will look for available sources of funds to put up the required counterpart so that the project can commence by next month as previously planned for the immediate results to be known if the operation of the recharging facility will be feasible to be replicated in other parts of the city.

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