Towards establishing water security and urban resilience in the city of Baguio
A resilient city must have, among other things, the capacity to satisfy the water-related and sanitation needs of its residents in a manner that is sustainable, equitable and conducive to human development. This working paper presents the findings of a study on water security, water access, sanitation and urban resilience in Baguio City, Philippines.
The overarching question for the research undertaking is: what institutional arrangements, including policy recommendations, technology-based interventions and adaptive practices, need to be put in place and adopted by Baguio City residents to ensure water security and build climate resilience? The study produced rich data on water security in Baguio City. Data revealed that Baguio’s supply of acceptable quality water – ie water that meets national drinking standards – is inadequate. Baguio residents have adopted adaptive behaviours to address the issue of water shortage in the city. These behaviours include rainwater harvesting and recycling and setting up community water systems.
Thus far, the Baguio Water District which is mandated ‘to provide adequate and potable water at affordable rates to all consumers’ has not excelled at carrying out this task. Adhering to a framework that sees resilience as ‘bouncing forward’ instead of ‘bouncing back,’ and underscores the mutually reinforcing significance of social or human resilience, ecological resilience and institutional resilience, the study finds that resilience efforts in the city are mostly aimed at building social or human resilience. Ecological resilience is mostly neglected. Data suggest that there is a threat of over-extraction of Baguio’s water resources. The citywide adoption and implementation of rainwater harvesting and improved enforcement of environmental regulations, alongside a more integrated and coordinated regulatory framework, are being recommended to ensure institutional resilience.