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By Gerardo R. Partido

HAGATNA, Guam (Marianas Variety, April 4) – Guam Senator Ben Pangelinan, D-Barrigada, has written a letter to Maj. General David Bice, executive director of the Joint Guam Program Office, requesting that a water desalinization system be incorporated in the military’s master plan relative to the relocation of thousands of Marines in the coming years.

"While we are still in the process of gathering information and working collaboratively to ensure that the relocation’s impact on the local community is mitigated, I am formally requesting that the inclusion of a water desalinization system be incorporated," Pangelinan said.

The U.S. Department of Defense recently announced its intent to conduct an Environmental Impact Study and a public scoping meeting on Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands relative to the Marines’ transfer.

Although the first batch of military personnel isn’t expected until 2012 and the Agreement Implementation Plan won’t take effect until 2014, Pangelinan believes now is the time to effectively lay out important matters in assisting with the transition.

"The northern aquifer provides for 70 to 80 percent of our island’s potable water production according to reports. In recognizing this fact, the sustainability of our island’s water resource is of great concern to me. Even at the present day, we still experience low to no water pressure and the military’s greater demand will only add to the already difficult challenges of consistently providing for an ever growing community," the senator said.

Considering that the military expansion will be located in northern Guam, Pangelinan said serious consideration must be given to incorporate a water desalinization system to alleviate any strain on Guam’s water resource that the Marine relocation might have.

"We have seen the conflict in the prioritization of the available water resources between residential use and the needs of the military on Guam. Our water resources are finite and the additional requirements of the increased military presence cannot come at the expense of the local community," the senator added.

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