Lingayen, Pangasinan—To conserve and sustain an adequate supply of water, the use of groundwater in the province of Pangasinan will be regulated.
In its regular session on January 29, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) approved an ordinance sponsored by Vice Governor Mark Ronald DG. Lambino for the said purpose.
“Indiscriminate drilling and excavation of wells, as well as unregulated use and excessive extraction of groundwater, not only dry up scarce water sources but also destroy the environment, resulting in contamination by toxic or hazardous materials, seepage, and chemical residues,” the ordinance stated.
The ordinance pointed out that indiscriminate drilling and excavation of wells may lead to land subsidence or a decline in land surface elevation, which can cause flooding, pipeline breakage, or even the collapse of buildings and other structures.
Based on the updated Master Plan on Water Resources Management in Two Selected River Basins (Pangasinan River Basin and Tigum Aganan River Basin) reported by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the National Water Resources Board (NWRB), an estimated 60% of groundwater withdrawals in the Pangasinan river basin are from unregistered wells.
Saltwater intrusion, as reported by the agencies, is often observed in deep wells, and adequate underground surveys and checking of groundwater quality should be conducted before groundwater development in the Pangasinan River basin.
“The NWRB has further concluded in its Study on Integrated Water Resources Management for Poverty Alleviation and Economic Development in the Pangasinan River Basin in the Republic of the Philippines (2011) that the depletion of groundwater in the provinces of Bulacan, Pangasinan, and Nueva Ecija has been accelerated because of inadequate groundwater use regulation in those areas; in particular, the excessive abstraction of groundwater within the Pangasinan river basin is causing the deterioration of the quality of groundwater and lowering of groundwater level/land subsidence,” the ordinance said.
As noted in the ordinance, the provincial board of Pangasinan aims to ensure a sustainable potable water supply while preserving the environment and ecological balance by regulating and monitoring the use of groundwater within its territorial jurisdiction.
Owners and/or operators of wells without NWRB permits and the requisite Local Government Unit (LGU) permits shall be penalized. The penalty includes P5,000 or imprisonment for three months.