Council to study water permits

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014


THE Baguio City Council wants the city as an "automatic forced intervenor" in all applications for water permits before the National Water Resources Board (NWRB).

The body recently approved this proposed resolution of Councilor Faustino Olowan.

Olowan, in his measure, stressed the need for the city to serve as intervenor in these applications in view of its "authority to safeguard and protect all natural resources within its imminent domain such as water which is very essential to life."

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"[There is a growing concern over the] continued increase of private individuals or entities engaged in unregulated operation of privately owned deep wells (which affect) the groundwater resources and water security of the city," Olowan said.

He noted that all applications are posted on the bulletin boards of the City Council for any person or entity to file a protest against the application and before a certification may be issued by the city secretary. Posting is mandated by law.

“Some protests were filed against some applications of Water Permit before the (NWRB) citing the Water Code of Baguio but most of the time, the protest was always denied,” Olowan said.

Under the Local Government Code of 1991, the city is empowered to adopt measures to safeguard and conserve its natural resources and the Baguio City Water Code or Ordinance No. 13 series of 2007 was one of the measures adopted by the City Council in line with this.

“It is just and proper that before the NWRB will issue water permits, the Board must consult first with the (city council) for its favorable approval to any water permit application,” he said noting there are no provisions from the NWRB prohibiting the move.

The Council Committee on Public Utilities chaired by Councilor Joel Alangsab recommended Olowan’s resolution noting the need for the city to request the NWRB to deputize the City Water Resources Board (CWRB) as its local agent.

The committee said the City Water Code, particularly sections 73 and 74, provides for the creation of the CWRB and among its functions is to help the City Council assess water-related projects for endorsement and to regulate excavation and drilling of the ground for laying of water.

The city is poised to create the CWRB. (Aileen Refuerzo)

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on April 10, 2014.

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