Tiaong Municipal Mayor Ramon Preza has raised concerns of farmers in the region about the further slowdown or reduction of water flow to their rice fields should the San Pablo City Water District push through with its project to extract water from Lumbo Spring in Dolores, Quezon.
The Quezon local government unit (LGU) explained that farmers depend on water from the mountains of Mt. Banahaw in Quezon for their crops. The water flows into the rivers and creeks of 16 Tiaong barangays and merges with the river called Malaking Ilog. In total, more than half of the 31 barangays of Tiaong rely on the river, which accounts for the irrigation of 970.26 hectares of paddy fields under the National Irrigation Administration, and another 180.85 hectares of paddy fields to other communal sources.
Preza said that the reduction of water supply and gradual stoppage of its flow in the rivers has already been observed to have a significant impact on the cultivation of rice, high value crops and animal husbandry in more than half of the barangays of Tiaong.
“Famers will be even more concerned about the slowdown or reduction of water flow if water from its main source is reduced and made available to other provinces,” Preza explained as he stressed the need for water in the production of rice and other food that every Filipino family should have on their tables.
In November of 2020, the water districts of San Pablo City, Laguna and Dolores, Quezon jointly issued a Notice of Award for the P103 Million Lumbo Spring Bulk Water Supply Project to a consortium led by Udenna Water Integrated, Inc. through a public-private partnership scheme. The Udenna Consortium was tasked to construct a facility to draw about 12 million liters of water daily from Lumbo Spring, which will mostly be diverted and sold to users from San Pablo, Laguna.
Preza appealed that before any resource extractive activity is undertaken which will affect users downstream, there should be a public consultation wherein all stakeholders, including those downstream, are given the opportunity to discuss their concerns. He also noted that the City of San Pablo is rich in bodies of water that its local government can use for domestic purposes of its constituents.