CLARK FREEPORT — An environmentalist here has again raised the possible spectre of a water crisis in this freeport and nearby cities and towns by 2025 amid lack of enough measures being undertaken to counter the threat.
Renato Tayag Jr. who has been in the past decades promoting the tapping of alternative water sources for local folk, recalled a study of the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) some years ago warning that water supply in the area of Angeles City, which hosts part of this freeport, and nearby areas would reach critical level only six years from now.
Tayag said the Angeles City government is already undertaking the planting of a million trees on the slopes of Mt. Pinatubo towards the city, but he stressed the need for the national government’s support to realize huge projects that could provide the metro Clark area with surface water sources.
At present, Clark and surrounding communities rely heavily on pumps to extract water from local aquifers.
Tayag also urged the government to undertake a serious study that could lead to the declaration of areas on the slopes of Mt. Pinatubo, which act as watershed for fl at-land communities, as officially protected while allowing only the installation of structures, such as dams, that could provide surface water to local folk.
He showed photos he took of waterfalls and streams which continue to fl ow with pristine water non-stop throughout the year on Mt. Pinatubo’s slopes.
“These waters can provide us with more than enough supply if only they could be tapped,” he said.
A master plan made by the Angeles City government way back in 2011 cited the NWRB-JICA study on the Pampanga River Basin, which said that Angeles City will reach the “critical level of ground water supply by 2025.”
“Supply and demand may equal by that time. The right to potable water, food, health and to life itself is a basic human right. Being a fast urbanizing area naturally and continuously attracting heavy in-migration, this early, Angeles City should start developing an alternative source for domestic and industrial water,” said the study.
“Its rolling to hilly areas are its forest cover found in the central and western part of Sapangbato. Its elevation ranges from 60 meters to 440 meters above mean sea level. Because of this terrain and favorable physical characteristics, Angeles City is an ideal place for settlement development,” the study also noted.
It said “more than 60 percent of Angeles City’s land area is groundwater easy areas. In said areas, potable water can be abstracted very easily at depths of 20 meter and less. These are the areas with flat to gently rolling slopes located in central and eastern Angeles City. Towards the west are ground water difficult areas that are characterized by rolling to undulating terrain and steep slopes. However, these areas are rich in surface water as they form part of the city’s watershed where the headwaters of Abacan River are located,” the study also said.