Baguio eyes pact to curb illegal deep well operations

Artemio Dumlao - The Philippine Star
Baguio eyes pact to curb illegal deep well operations
This undated file photo shows the city hall of Baguio.
Baguio City Facebook page

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — The city government of Baguio will sign a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to stop the operation of illegal deep wells.

Once signed, the MOA is expected to put an end to problems caused by the operation of deep wells to the city’s underground water sources.

On June 10, the Baguio City Council passed a resolution allowing Mayor Benjamin Magalong to enter into an agreement with the NWRB and DENR.

The agreement is expected to benefit city residents in terms of regulating groundwater extraction as well as in monitoring water appropriation, control and conservation.

Through the MOA, the city government will be able to support and strengthen the authority of the NWRB and the DENR in dealing with illegal deep well operators.

The Baguio City Water Resources Board (BCWRB) has been working with the NWRB to regulate the extraction of groundwater and manage other water-related concerns.

Surveys conducted by the BCWRB showed the number of unregulated deep and shallow wells has been increasing.

These illegal wells cause damage to underground aquifers and water shortage, especially during tourism season.

As of January, there have been 1,000 deep wells operating in the city. Of the figure, only 200 have permits from the NWRB.

The NWRB has the authority to shut down deep wells while the city government can only mandate operators to obtain permits from the agency.­

The crackdown against illegal deep wells aims to prevent a recurrence of diarrhea outbreak, which occurred early this year and affected over 3,000 residents.

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