There is always a price to pay for progress. In 1993,the year when Republic Act 7227, otherwise known as the Bases Conversion Law went into effect, thus converting the former US military installation of Clark Air Base into a Clark Special Economic Zone, investors began coming in.
Many years later,and today, there are more than seven hundred locators. Manufacturing companies, hotels, housing subdivisions, banks, schools,casinos, food chains, industrial park and golf courses. All of which consume on a 24 hour basis large volume of water.
In a study, it showed that Clark Freeport today consume more than 25,400 cubic meters per day, the total output of the service provider. And at the rate of this development, Clark Freeport, including Angeles City and Mabalacat will soon face their biggest problem. WATER!
Of course everyone knows that we pumped water from the ground. We really don’t know who and how they measure the aquifer. If Clark and the adjacent communities with their respective water districts pump water from the ground and retail to thousands of households with hefty profit,the question is if they have alternative plans in case there will be a drying up.
Today the people running the water companies are having their merry ways. May this item be a reminder that nothing last forever, even water, a gift from God.
There is project concept called the Sapang Bato Watershed Area. It is an integrated engineering development that would cover the Abacan river channel. It can be planned as a watershed that can be tapped as a source of bulk water. The location is in the area of Barangay Sapangbato, western portion of Clark Freeport.
Given its topography, the mountainous areas in Sapangbato and Sacobia, has a huge potential to house bulk water facilities. The Department of Environment and Natural resources can do the reforestation.
Even the Department of Energy should take look on this and may get involved and designed a run of the river mini hydroelectric plant that can sell power even on a limited capacity.
I am not really sure which government agencies should get involved, but I suggest Angeles City government should get interested and take the lead. It is also suggested that the local water districts can be in a consortium that will operate and manage the project and serve as a water dealer to other water districts.
The general concept is to contain and manage the flow of water from upstream channels at the Sapangbato area to downstream creeks. In that case, a protective structure can be built and if we really dream big, it can even be a two-lane toll road. Just like the river dike built in Porac where motorists coming from SCTEX can skip Macarthur Highway when going to Bacolor and City of San Fernando.
The only existing bulk water system in Central Luzon is in Bulacan. Built primarily by the Manila Water Sewerage System(MWSS) with support from other agencies and by the Bulacan province of P11 billion. It is now supplying needs of at least ten towns in that province.
A bulk water project is a must for Clark,Mabalacat and Angeles.It is crucial and necessary. The first few steps should have been done years ago. But it is never too late.