Proponent finds 2 sites for bulk water project

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BAGUIO CITY  – A Manila-based water concessionaire located two possible sources of potable water outside the city that could be tapped for the long overdue bulk water project of the Baguio Water District (BWD) to address the projected water needs of the city by 2045.

Manila Water Philippine Ventures, a subsidiary of Manila Water and Ayala Corporation, disclosed the proposed sites for BWD’s bulk water project are located in Itogon and Tuba, Benguet.

Based on the presentation of the company to city officials during the recently concluded executive-legislative meeting, the identified source in Itogon town is capable of producing some 62 million liters per day of potable water while the Budacao spring in Tuba can only produce some 9 million liters per day.

However, the projected cost of bringing potable water to the Ambiong area where BWD will tap the same was projected to be between P71 to P80 per cubic meter while the cost of the potable water from the Tuba source is still being studied by the proponent.

Earlier, BWD disclosed that its existing water sources in the different parts of Baguio and Benguet can produce some 40 million liters per day of potable water but only 28 million liters per day is ca only be delivered to consumers while the city’s daily demand for potable water is around 54 million liters per day, thus, rationing is being implemented by the water district to meet the water needs of the consumers in 122 out of the 128 barangays in the city.

By 2045, BWD projected that the increasing number of consumers in the city’s barangay will be needing some 76 million liters per day of potable water, thus, serious water shortage is expected if the water district will not tap additional water sources aside from identifying a bulk water provider to augment the production of its existing water sources based in the different parts of the city.

The bulk water project proponent stated that bringing the supply of potable water from Itogon up to the BWD source in Ambiong will involve a 3-pump stage to bring the water to a total elevation of over 4,400 meters from the source, and the same is also similar with the Budacao water source in Tuba, thus, studies are being conducted on how to remove the 3-pump stage to significantly reduce the cost of the delivered water and make it affordable to the consumers.

Although the Itogon source was temporarily parked because of the enormous cost involved in its realization, company officials are contemplating on reviving the same considering the position of the Local Water Utilities Administration that water districts should embark on the development of surface water sources instead of underground sources due to its serious negative effect to the stability of the aquifers.

For over two decades now, BWD has been attempting to venture on a bulk water project with private proponents but the same has not yet been realized because of the difficulty in finding a sustainable source of potable water for the city from the neighboring areas and the acceptance of the host communities over the said project.

By Dexter A. See

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