The headwater of Balili River is Sagudin River and is found in Trancoville
barangay, Baguio City. Sagudin River is sustained by tributary creeks
coming from Pacdal, Cabinet Hill, New Lucban, Honeymoon, Guisad, and
Sto. Nino (formerly Slaughter Compound) barangays. The water of the
tributary creek from Sto. Nino comes from Burnham Lake and other effluents
from the business districts of Baguio City like Magsaysay Avenue and
Session Road. These waters converge and flow downstream towards La Trinidad,
Benguet as the Balili River, which in turn drains into Naguilian River.
The present classification of Naguilian River is Class “A”,
which is public water supply Class II.
QUALITY MONITORING AND IMPROVEMENT UNDERTAKEN
Monthly water quality monitoring and sampling
were conducted by DENR-CAR since January 1996. A total of nineteen (19)
monitoring and sampling stations were established along the barangays
where the tributary creeks traverse. Six (6) stations are in La Trinidad,
Benguet and thirteen (13) are within boundaries of Baguio City.
monitoring and sampling stations were selected in a way to be able to
identify the possible sources of pollution and to quantify the contribution
of each of the barangays in Baguio City and La Trinidad to the pollution
of Balili River.
The analysis of water samples collected from the identified sampling
stations in 1996-1998 shows that:
most polluted sampling stations in terms of Dissolved Oxygen (DO)
are Stations 10, 13 and 17. These stations have consistently low DO
levels which indicate the presence of large amounts of organic matter
that use up oxygen for its decomposition. This means that the waters
at the abovementioned stations is not capable of sustaining aquatic
life. However, at the downstream portion of Balili River at Station
1, DO readings obtained were already within acceptable levels (5mg/1
or more than). This could be attributed to dilution with other tributary
creeks with much higher DO levels and aided by its continuous and
turbulent flow. The turbulent flow of a river causes aeration, thereby
increasing the DO of the River.
pH of Balili River and its tributaries ranges from 6.5 to 9.5. Considering
pH level alone as a parameter, this would pass the standard of a Class
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) load averages below 500mg/L. The TDS
of a Class “A” River should not exceed 1000mg/L.
Total Suspended Solids (TSS) load in stations 10 and 13 exceed the
standard limit of 50mg/L
Formation of a Multi-Sectoral Monitoring Group
Linkages with concerned private and government
agencies were established to address the common goal of improving the
water quality of Balili River. This resulted in the formation of a Multi-Sectoral
Monitoring Group with the members signing a Memorandum of Understanding
(MOU) to jointly undertake the task of protecting the water quality
of Balili River and its tributaries within Baguio City and La Trinidad
by planning and implementing measures towards this goal.
Tie-up with other local government units and institutions
More individuals and institutions were
involved in the protection of Balili River in 1998 as the level of awareness
of the citizenry increased.
wastes or garbage from households, particularly plastics and styrofoams
are very dominant along the stretch of Balili River. These are seen
floating or forming small islands in the middle of the River. Aside
from being an eyesore, the garbage clog the waterways causing flooding
during heavy rains.
sewage are also directly discharged into the river by some households.
These pollutants do not only pose danger and risk to aquatic life
but also humans.
effluents from business establishments such as used oil from motor
and machine shops also contribute to the degradation of the River.
activities like car wash along the River and the ongoing construction
and widening of the Baguio-La Trinidad-Bontoc Road. Improper containment
of excavated materials from the said construction may cause siltation
of the river.
from the river is pumped and used to irrigate vegetable and flower
gardens along Km 4 in La Trinidad, Benguet. The River also irrigates
the farms in Bahong, La Trinidad, noted for its wide rose gardens
is planted along the riverbanks in the Bell Church area, Km 3, La
of small fish species like guppy and jojo were noted at the riverside
of Km 5 area, La Trinidad
are abundant at the downstream portion of Balili River along Capitol
area in La Trinidad
Proposed Protection Plan
along the riversides, that are easy garbage dumping areas, to minimize
indiscriminate throwing of garbage into the river. Billboards and signs
should also be installed with the fences for added effect
and propagation of bamboo along the riversides for erosion control
of communal septic tanks in some barangays. This could be looked into
by concerned authorities and endorse a resolution to the City Council
an intensified and continuous Information and Education Campaign (IEC).
of all storm drains and canals to prevent flooding during heavy rains.
INFORMATION ON BALILI RIVER
Balili River is part of the Baguio Water District’s so called-
“inferred aquifer zone”- areas for groundwater extraction
that are considered high-yielding because of transmissive flow path.
This means that the discharge/recharge process of water in these areas
is quite active.
aquifer zones include the Trancoville, teachers’s Camp-M Roxas
and Busol aquifers. BWD is convinced that groundwater behavior in these
areas act in a manner that, as water drains into the Balili River, the
River itself, through its underground tributaries, acts as recharge
point for ground water replenishment.
The potential contribution of the Balili River as a water source indicates
one of the biggest challenges for ground/surface water source management
for all sectors concerned. One of the obstacles that have been indentified
is the rapid rate of urbanization in the general area of the Balili
River, which is La Trinidad, Benguet and Baguio City.
brings about an increase in the demand for water, the problem on waste
generation and disposal, the conversion of land to residential, commercial
and industrial use, leak and spill of toxic and hazardous substances
into waterways. The consequential effects of urbanization in the impairment
of water resources is largely foreseen. This gradually reduces the effective
watersheds of major river systems- including the Balili River- and ultimately
groundwater recharge. It is therefore recommended to identify solutions
to the Balili River problem in this particular context.