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Man-made lake needs 34M liters of water

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11:27 PM January 26th, 2013

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January 26th, 2013 11:27 PM

BOATS rented out to tourists returned to Burnham Lake on Jan. 24 after workers began refilling it with water. RICHARD BALONGLONG/INQUIRER NORTHERN LUZON

BAGUIO CITY—True to their word, workers have completed the dredging of Burnham Lake here two weeks before the opening of the Baguio Flower Festival in February.

But a bigger task looms: the government needs to refill the man-made lake bed with 34 million liters of water (170,000 drums of water) by Feb. 3, so the lake can host the fluvial parade where participants row out decorated boats and rafts as part of the festival.

The cold temperature means no strong rains are forthcoming, so the government contractor has been forced to buy water from Baguio’s various commercial water delivery services at P24 per drum, said Ruben Cervantes, officer in charge of the city environment and parks management office.

Temperature in the summer capital has fluctuated in the past week between 10 degrees Celsius and 9.5 degrees, its lowest that was recorded on Jan. 18.

Water tankers began unloading water on Wednesday when the minimum temperature was 12.2 degrees. On Thursday, the mercury dropped once more to 10 degrees, said Salvador Olinares, senior weather specialist.

Except for isolated rainshowers on Thursday, the weather here will  be dry in the coming days because Baguio is still in the midst of a cooling period, Olinares said.

The P20-million dredging project, commissioned by the Department of Public Works and Highways, was started on Jan. 3 by workers who drained out muddy lake water and retrieved its marine life.

Cervantes said workers pumped out water until Jan. 8, allowing heavy machinery to drive through the lake bed and remove decades-old silt and debris, and to repair or replace its concrete walls.

He said it would take more than 8,500 trucks (with the capacity to ferry 20 drums of water) to fill up the lake.

“I don’t know if it would take longer to fill up the lake compared to the time it took to drain it,” he said. Vincent Cabreza, with a report from Gobleth Moulic, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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