July 30, 2023

SM City Baguio set to convert rainwater to potable water

SM City Baguio recently launched the first of its kind in a mall-setting facility that will convert rainwater to potable water and help contribute to the city’s water conservation and recycling efforts.
Leading the ceremonial untying of ribbon to officially launch the Rainwater Facility Project were (L-R (Marc Janssen T. Pe, Senior Asst. Vice President-Mall Operations; Cecil Dionisio, DOST-Science Research; Engr. Kim Oliver Domondon - DOH; Atty. VJ Cawis, Representative from the City Mayor's Office; OIC-RD Engr. Jean Borromeo, EMB, CAR; Engr. Liza Silerio, SM Supermalls Vice President for Corporate Compliance and SM Cares Program Director for the Environment; Mr. Bien Mateo, SVP for Operations, SM Supermalls; Rona Vida B Correa, Regional Operations Manager-North 1.
The mall’s Rainwater Filtration facility will supply the mall with enough potable water that can be redistributed to mall tenants for various uses including washing, cleaning and safe for drinking, to help reduce sourcing from the communities’ water table, leaving more water supply for the Baguio community to use,” SM Supermalls Senior Vice President Bien C. Mateo disclosed.

While SM has been recycling water for decades since the 1990’s, the water-saving innovation is part of SM Prime’s sustainability program towards responsible consumption and carbon footprint reduction, according to Mr. Mateo. “We invest in water conservation technology to eliminate water wastage and adopt stricter measures to reduce consumption. More innovations are being done to recycle more water and filter more rainwater across the properties and estates of SM Prime.”

In 2022, the real estate developer has recycled a total of 3.58 million cubic meters of water across its properties in the Philippines.

As of June 2023, SM Prime has already installed water catchment basins in 25 malls to help prevent flooding as well as soil erosion during sudden high volumes of rainfall.

The rainwater catchment system installed in SM City Baguio can draw and store a total of 51 million liters of rainwater in a year, based on 2022 PAGASA rainfall volume for Baguio City. This is equivalent to 20 Olympic-size swimming pools, 13.4M gallons of drinking water, 373,510 full baths and 672,318 10-minute showers.

How does it work?
During rain fall, rainwater is collected in the tank and treated for reuse within the mall. To make rainwater safe for use, the harvested water goes through a 6-step treatment processes – Multimedia Filtration, Water Softener, Activated Carbon, Ultra Filtration, Reverse Osmosis and Ozonization - the treated rainwater from the tank will be re-distributed as supply for the mall tenants for various uses including washing, cleaning and safe for drinking.
Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong with Engr. Liza Silerio, SM Supermalls Vice President for Corporate Compliance and SM Cares Program Director for the Environment and Engr. Merlin Andrew Te, Owner-Manager of Purnspect the treated rainwater from the tank. This water will be distributed to tenants for various purposes, including washing, cleaning, and safe drinking, as part of the water and recycling efforts
Working towards a better tomorrow for its communities, officials from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources of Cordillera Administrative Region (DENR-CAR) have acknowledged the efforts of the mall in providing a long-term solution amidst the growing concern on water security.

“We are grateful for your attention to the predicament on water scarcity in Baguio City,” DENR Regional Director of CAR Engineer Jean Borromeo in a message to SM Prime. “Water scarcity is one of the biggest issues that Baguio is facing today because deep wells have already dried up the city’s water table. It is good to see how SM Prime is taking its responsibility to the environment seriously, practically addressing the biggest environmental threat to Baguio City.”

“This will greatly help reduce sourcing from the city’s water table and more water supply for the community to use. Not only does SM considers what’s best for its shopping customers, but also take into consideration the importance of water security as one of its priorities,” RD Borromeo added.

The Rainwater Filtration facility is one of SM Prime Holding’s initiatives to its commitment towards sustainable development in the communities it serves.
Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong (2nd from right) with Atty. Renan Diwas, Baguio City Environment and Parks Management Office Head; Mr. Bien Mateo, SM SVP for Operations, and Marc Janssen T. Pe, SM’s SAVP for Mall Operations.
SM Prime is committed to supporting the United Nations in achieving its Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), including SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation, SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production and SDG 13: Climate Action which aims to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

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