Part of the University of the Philippines Baguio’s extensive infrastructure activities are excavations done for the purpose of installing rainwater harvesting faciltities.
This was explained recently by Vice-Chancellor for Administration Prof. Jessica Cariño saying that this component of the infrastructure program is geared towards resolving the long-drawn water problem of the university using sustainable approaches consistent with UP Baguio”s “Green Campus” policy.
Rainwater harvesting hopes to harness the perennial heavy rainfall in Baguio and channel the water runoff to a number of storage tanks. Some of these storage facilities are being built underground called “cistern” tanks, thus the excavations. Prof. Cariño said each tank would have a capacity of storing 10,000 liters of water and fifteen of these will be built around the UP Baguio campus.
With these facilities combined and at full capacity, UP Baguio would have at least 150,000 liters of water stored for its use. Prof. Cariño said that along with the tank construction, pipes and other water conveyance systems would be installed to draw rainwater from the building gutters towards the storage tanks.
She said that initially, the water will not be used for potable purposes such as drinking and cooking. “We will provide a vortex filtration system in order to eliminate fine sediments from raw rainwater to make this clean and storeable,” she said. The primary use of the stored rainwater is for cleaning and flushing especially at the restrooms and for watering plants, she added.
Prof. Cariño said the university uses a significant volume of water for cleaning and flushing. The rainwater harvesting facility will result in savings on revenue spent for mobile water delivery as well as for water utility bills.
The university, however, had undergone preparations for augmentation of potable water supply. A 586-drum capacity cistern tank is being constructed at the vicinity of the College of Social Sciences stairway from the Japanese Garden. This would receive water piped-in through the Baguio Water District as an additional water connection was applied for and approved by BWD for UP Baguio.
Prof. Cariño said this will respond to the potable water requirements of the university. She added that the 586-drum capacity cistern tank is designed so that it has two segments at 293 drums per segment. She explained that one segment would provide potable water for the UP Baguio Residence Hall and the other half will serve the main campus.
Construction of the potable water cistern tanks began in March this year with a construction period of 120 days. On this basis, the BWD water connection is expected to be online in July this year.
The initiative to improve UP Baguio’s water situation is part of a vigorous support for capital outlay by the administration of President Alfredo E. Pascual. Prof. Cariño said it opened an opportunity for funding of which UP Baguio is grateful. A good number of infrastructure proposals obtained funding support from the UP system. This explains why there are so much construction going on simultaneously in the campus, Prof. Cariño said.
The rainwater harvesting system is, however, unique in the sense that UP Baguio is the only constituent unit that is going to operate this type of facility, Prof. Cariño said. (ROLAND RABANG)
Students pass alongside a cistern tank construction site – future location of a rainwater harvesting system built around the UP Baguio campus.
This initiative hopes to establish a cleaner and greener campus in the immediate future.