Wednesday, March 23, 2011

City’s groundwater sources ‘not improving’

City’s groundwater sources ‘not improving’
By Bernadette Parco
Sun.Star Cebu
March 23, 2011

THERE is no improvement in the level of saltwater intrusion in Metro Cebu in the last five years, said a University of San Carlos (USC) water expert.

To augment water supply, the construction of additional reservoirs is recommended.

“The groundwater is not better. While saltwater has not moved fast for the past five years, it has also not moved back. It is status quo since five years ago; it is not improving,” said Engr. Fe Walag of the USC Water Resources Center.

Saltwater intrusion is attributed to over-extraction of groundwater. This results to water wells being rendered useless as aquifers became saline.

“We hope what we are doing can help allow rainwater in going underground, by setting up this facility,” she told reporters yesterday after the blessing and inauguration of the Buhisan Eco-Center, as part of the celebration of 18th World Water Day.

World Water Day is an initiative of the United Nations to promote the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

The center is a showcase of environment efforts of non-government organizations, such as the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), Cebu Uniting for Sustainable Water (CUSW), the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) and the Cebu City Government.

The facility includes a rainwater catchment system, heritage tree nursery and the Buhisan Butterfly Garden.

The reservoir is located with the 629-hectare Buhisan watershed, one of five watersheds that make up the Cebu Central Protected Landscape (CCPL).

The dam is the only surface water source of Metro Cebu, with production ranging from 5,000 cubic meters (cu. m.) per day during the dry season to 10,000 cu. m. per day during the rainy season.

Walag said the more rainwater is collected, the more water will go to the rivers and seep into the ground to recharge the aquifer.

“Because of the changing climate what we need are more reservoirs,” said Walag.
The proposed sites are the rivers of Mananga, Kotkot, Lusaran and also urban rivers like Buhisan, Bulacao, Lahug and Guadalupe.

“There are sites that are good for the reservoirs. What is needed is the will to construct (the reservoirs),” she said.

“We keep talking about proposals, all the good studies, but we refuse to implement them,” she said.

MCWD general manager Engr. Armando Paredes assured the quality of water served to its clients is maintained.

He said water is processed at the Tisa Filter Plant and daily bacteriological tests are conducted.

Paredes said the eco-center would be the venue to educate people to care for the environment and protect water sources.

The Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) noted in a press statement that “drinking water
is finite.”

“In our country alone, 50 of our 421 rivers have already been declared biologically dead. There is a pressing need to conserve and protect our freshwater resources, and that need is further multiplied by the impacts of climate change,” the group said.

“Now is a more urgent time than before to ensure that competition for our water resources does not translate into the deprivation of any man, woman or child of the water that they require for an adequate standard of living,” the group said.