WITH close to 20,000 unmonitored deep wells in the city, the Baguio Regreening Movement (BRM) is asking the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) to give the function of monitoring, regulating and the issuance of deep well permits in the city to the Baguio Water District (BWD).
In the weekly Talakayan sa Environmental Code, BRM chairman Erdolfo Balajadia reiterated the function is more suitable for BWD as it is well versed on the issue involving illegal deep well operators in Baguio.
“It would help if the people of Baguio to agitate for decentralization of authority of the NWRB. And we are calling on our incumbent Congressman to file a bill in Congress to bring down the exclusive powers of NWRB to the local water district,” Balajadia said.
BWD had opposed drilling activities for deep well operations, but the NWRB has the mandate to issue water drilling rights and permits to applicants.
“There should be an inventory now of these illegally constructed deep wells so the City can act properly and have a direction on what to do,” Balajadia added.
Engineer Noriel Calpito, BWD division head for construction and maintenance, agreed on the proposal of BRM and assured the capacity of the local water district to manage and regulate legally constructed deep wells in the city.
“BWD has the capacity to regulate deep wells in the city and I believe that if ever this move would pursue, it will be a big help for BWD, we can augment the monitoring and processing for deep wells,” Calpito explained.
The City’s water district monitored parts of the city having many water sources, but observed water levels in some areas at a low because of the operation of private deep wells.
The NWRB is the government agency responsible for all the water resources in the Philippines. It coordinates and regulates all water-related activities in the country that has impact on the physical environment and the economy.
The major functions of the NWRB is to formulate policy and coordination as well as regulate resources and economy.
Private deep wells in the city have hampered BWD’s efforts to improve water supply to consumers, which normally becomes limited during summer due to high demand and consumption.