Pulling the Plug on Water Mining: A Groundwater Conservation Strategy from the Philippines
Rosalina Palanca Tan
Germelino M. Bautista
This report makes suggestions for controlling the excessive abstraction of groundwater in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines. It finds strong evidence that the area's aquifers are being overexploited. It also finds a strong willingness to pay for water supply among the area's businesses. It advises that a tradable permit system for water abstraction would be an effective way to conserve groundwater. This approach could also generate money for conserving water catchment areas. However, the study also finds that major reforms in the national water monitoring and licensing authority would be necessary to ensure the success of any such scheme. The excessive extraction of groundwater for industrial, agricultural and domestic use is a major issue worldwide. In many parts of the globe, it is affecting water supplies and causing land subsidence and saltwater intrusion. In the Philippines - where El Nino has recently increased climatic uncertainties - it is a particularly pressing challenge, since groundwater plays an important role in ensuring a year-round supply of water. This study has found strong evidence that the area's aquifers are being depleted. The research investigated the feasibility of metering and charging for groundwater extraction. This shaped its recommendations for a permit system to limit the amount of groundwater used. It found that such a system could be an effective way to conserve groundwater and could also generate money for conserving water catchment areas.
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