BWD registers huge systems loss

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Thursday, March 1, 2012


A HIGH percentage in systems loss is still to blame for the continued water rationing scheme in the city.

Engr. Salvador Royeca, Baguio Water District (BWD) assistant general manager, in an interview over DZEQ-Radyo ng Bayan Tuesday, revealed some 40 percent of the supplied water goes to waste due to old pipes, leaks, illegal connections, lost meters and other sources of systems loss.

According to Royeca, this is still far off from the standard system loss rate for water districts set by the Local Water Utilities Administration at 20 percent.

This systems loss also lowers the distribution efficiency of the BWD since only around 32,500 cubic meters of water reach the homes of consumers out of the ideal 55,00 cubic meters daily.

Demand increases year after year, with the daily 55,000 cubic meters water demand rising to 75,000 cubic meters daily in the next five years. This is due to the rapid and erratic increase of migrant population in the city.

Royeca said BWD may opt to increase rates if systems loss goes unabated.

And even while the BWD continues to tap an additional 1,500 cubic meters of new water sources every year to address population growth, lowering systems loss is the most viable solution to address growing consumer needs.

To achieve this, the BWD is currently undergoing a massive re-piping of old service lines which according to Royeca are way beyond their economic life span of 40 years.

The water district’s P800 million re-piping project is 70 percent completed with Areas 1 and 2 which include the central business district, Magsaysay Avenue, Bokawkan, Kennon, Quezon Hill, Quirino Hill, Irisan, Marcos Highway already finished.

The BWD is currently pursuing the completion of re-piping of old lines which will cost P30 million in Area 3 which include southern portions of its franchise area in Loakan, Trancoville and Aurora Hill this year until 2013.

During re-piping, water lines are also relocated, re-plastered, line segments repaired and changed with new design to accommodate growing demands in many populated areas in the city.

The water district is also eyeing the tapping and exploring of new water sources inside the John Hay Special Economic Zone and Lucnab.

For now, the BWD is tapping on several water sources in Busol, Buyog, Camp 8 watersheds and Sto. Tomas rain harvesting facility for the city’s water needs.

Royeca further assured the coming summer months would not pose a problem to the city’s supply as they expect more rains this year compared last 2010 when the city experienced El Niño.

With climate change and the lack of rain during summer months, he said water sources are affected as underground aquifers take longer time to recharge compared to rainy months.

However, he assured, despite this shortage in supply, the BWD is still able to cover and deliver safe and potable drinking water to 90 percent of its franchise area.

With the abandonment of the Bulk Water Supply project, which is now under litigation, the water district is now back on the drawing board looking for additional sources of water for the city that has already surpassed its carrying capacity in recent years. (JM Agreda)

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 01, 2012.

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