BAGUIO CITY – The Baguio Water District (BWD) stated that its deep well drilling project in Barangay Camp 7 will benefit hundreds of consumers in barangays Camp 7, Loakan Proper and Bakakeng Norte/Sur once it will be completed.
Appearing before the regular session of the City Council last Monday, BWD officials claimed that the district was able to secure the required permits for the realization of the project that is geared towards increasing the water supply of the residents that stand to benefit from the project.
Aside from the resolution endorsing the project from barangay Camp 7, BWD was able to secure the needed water permit from the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) among other required permits from concerned government agencies.
The Camp 7 deep well project is located below the Camp 7 Elementary School, or within the area leading towards the major river system.
Earlier, concerned residents from barangay Camp 7 expressed their opposition to the deep well project of the water district because of the projected depletion of the water in their springs where they source their daily supply of water.
According to the petitioners, it has been proven in the past that similar deep well projects in the area allegedly depleted the water of their springs and resulted to inadequate water supply in their residences, thus, the put up of the latest BWD project in the area will result to similar problems in the area.
Members of the local legislative body reminded the BWD and the petitioners to sit down together and discuss the possible solutions to the impasse created by the petition of the residents against the project, considering the benefit of the deep well project to majority of the people in the surrounding barangays.
The petitioners also submitted their petition against the project to the Cordillera office of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to make as a requirement the conduct of the free and prior informed consent (FPIC) for the project but no action was done by the office to shed light on the matter whether or not the water district is required to secure the FPIC of the affected indigenous peoples before proceeding with the implementation of its deep well project in Barangay Camp 7.
BWD officials argued that water is a resource owned by the State and under existing laws, rules and regulations water districts have been empowered by the State to manage, utilize and oversee the implementation of projects geared towards the preservation, protection, and proper utilization of the said resource.
They argued the deep well project is geared towards the sustainable utilization and proper utilization of the available water resource in the area that will help improve the water supply of the residents that stand to benefit from the eventual operation of the deep well in the future.
BWD vehemently denied the claim of the affected residents that the water in their spring source will be affected, saying that while it is true that there will be an effect on the water supply, it will not result to its the total depletion.
By Dexter A. See