Water woes hound Sagada despite P36 million project

>> Monday, October 10, 2016

By Gina Dizon 

SAGADA, Mountain Province – Despite rainy days, water is still scarce in this tourist town as pipes bringing the precious liquid here from a watershed along the boundary of Abra and Sagada have not yet reached households and some inns inconveniencing tourists who are increasing by the number. 
Water from an area called Boasao near the border recently reached only the municipal hall and clinic but not intended 15 barangays.
The desired water level of 13.6 liters per second was reached following installation of 225 pipes along the Boasaw pipelines to the Palidan Bangaan distribution tank which is around 7 km from the town center.
Engineer Randy Baguitan of Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resource Management Project (CHARMP) said excess water that reached the distribution tank were being released to irrigation waters leading to Tanulong.
The Boasaw waterworks project called Improvement of  Buasao  Irrigation System and Construction of  Tanulong  Tribe Irrigators Association Water Services was meant to provide irrigation to Tanulong ricefields  and domestic water supply for the 15 barangays. The finally completed 320 day waterworks project was sourced from a combined P36 million fund from the P18 million CHARMP and P18 million from  the priority development assistance funds (PDAF) of  Sen. Teofisto Guingona 111.
The water project was bid out December of 2011 and redesigned since 2012.
The beneficiary Tanulong Irrigators Association was hesitant of a turnover and wanted to ensure redesign was done and  that waters were made certain to irrigate their rice fields while water for domestic use reached Sagada town proper.
This time, water fully reached the water tank at Palidan where it was designed to make excess water flow for Poblacion. But while the municipal hall and clinic are getting water from Boasaw, the rest of the supposed 15 beneficiary barangays have not.
Excess waters as noted in an earlier 2011 agreement among Tanulong folks referred to situations when rice fields are in fallow during rainy months so water is directed for domestic water supply.
In times when rice fields need water only one hour is allowed every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday of the week to be released to for domestic consumption.
The Tanulong Tribe Irrigators Association has “exclusive authority  to manage the domestic water system and install  water meters”  leading to households, as contained in the 2011 agreement among tribes of Tanulong  as witnessed by Latawan and Pidlisan tribe. 
Barangays have yet to set up their water associations to manage their respective water systems. 
Redesign on Boasaw waterworks has been introduced when the Sangguniang Bayan then in 2012 asked why pipes did not reach the main town and intended 15 barangays.
The Sangguniang Bayan called for redesign of the project in 2012. This led to P2 million from the 2013 Bottom up Budgetting (BuB) allotted to pipes to reach intended 15 barangays. 
Latawan then said during SB  meeting two 4- inch pipes shall be connected from the 6- inch pipe connected from the Boasaw water dam. This however was not pursued but instead a one 4-inch pipe was installed until waters were not reaching the desired level at the Palidan tank that the original design was recalled.
Consistent complaints of folks from Tanulong and nearby northern barangays  of water getting wasted along the pipelines finally led to 225 pieces of the 4 inch pipes laid out early months of 2016  alongside a stretch of 4-inch pipes earlier installed.
The rest is history with a 6-inch pipe connected from the Boasaw source in consonance to an agreement with Besao and Tanulong folks.

The 6-inch pipe pours water to an open canal with a distance of  some 200 meters, connected again to a 6-inch pipe with a distance of  some 300 meters and splits to two 4-inch pipes with a distance of some  three kilometers on to the Palidan tank .


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