City officials requested the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) to require all water-related activity proponents in the city to secure water permit or clearance from the city government prior to the issuance of the permit from the said office.
Under Resolution No. 133, series of 2021 that was signed by Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong local legislators stated the need for the passage of a resolution to implement the agreement reached by NWRB and city officials to address the shortage of water supply the city is currently facing.
The council admitted the city does not have a large and steady source of water and that it relies solely on natural springs, deep wells and rain water catchment for its water supply.
Further, the body claimed the large numbers of undocumented deep wells, pumps or illegal drilling activities in the city aggravated by the destruction of underground water aquifers are contributory to the decrease of water supply over the past several years.
The council pointed out the sudden shortage in water supply is unprecedented and requires immediate action through the implementation of strict regulations by the NWRB in close coordination and active involvement of the local government.
While the NWRB is the agency that manages and regulates all water resources and services in the country through the issuance of water permit, the council as the legislative body shall enact ordinances, approved resolutions and appropriate funds for the general welfare of the city and its inhabitants and in the proper exercise of the corporate powers of the city and for an efficient and effective local government shall subject to existing laws, establish and provide for the maintenance, repair, and operation of an efficient waterworks system to supply water for the residents and purify the source of water supply, regulate the construction, maintenance, repair and use of hydrants, pumps, cisterns and reservoirs; protect the purity and quality of the water supply of the city and extend the coverage of appropriate ordinances over all territory within the drainage area of said water supply and within 100 meters of the reservoir among others.
According to the body, the NWRB and the local government share the responsibility to regulate water-related activities and allocate sufficient water for optimal beneficial use for the residents.
From 2016-2019, the council stipulated that there were more or less 53 water permit applicants with the NWRB aside from those approved water permits.
Based on the city’s Environment Code, all proponents of water-related activities in the city are required to acquire city water permits or accreditation from the city and that all water sources, extractors and drillers for individual household domestic purpose shall secure clearance from the City Water Resources Board and that in no case can any water-related activity starts without first getting all necessary clearances and permits.
Earlier, the council pursuant to Resolution No. 308, series of 2019, requested the NWRB to issue a moratorium on the acceptance and issuance of permits to drill and water permits to individuals and entities for water sources in the city, except for Baguio Water District (BWD) A consultation was conducted last January 11, 2021 and an agreement was reached between city officials, BWD executives and NWRB officials that the city must be consulted and issue water permits prior to the issuance of the same by the NWRB.
By Dexter A. See
Photo by: Armando M. Bolislis