Aboitiz-led Apo Agua supplies water to Davao City Water District with state-of-the-art facility

SUSTAINABLE WATER. Apo Agua’s Water Treatment Plant, located in Brgy. Gumalang along the Bukidnon-Davao Highway, uses a water-energy nexus concept, where the water used to generate power is treated and supplied to DCWD water reservoirs.

Apo Agua Infrastructura, Inc. (Apo Agua), a water subsidiary of Aboitiz InfraCapital (AIC), has reached a major milestone by commencing the supply of safe, reliable, and sustainable water to the Davao City Water District (DCWD) last December 1, 2023, marking a significant leap forward in the country’s water infrastructure development. 

The operational launch of the Davao City Bulk Water Supply Project (DCBWSP) –  the largest of its kind in the country at 300 MLD with a 70-kilometer pipeline – addresses the water needs of over one million Davaoeños. Equally important, it augments the city’s reliance on groundwater sources, allowing the aquifers to rest and replenish while accommodating increasing water demand.

Prior to distribution to DCWD’s water supply systems, the water was verified as compliant with the standards set by the Philippine National Standards for Drinking Water (PNSDW).

In a recently released joint statement with Apo Agua, DCWD announced that it had started supplying the water last December to its Calinan, Tugbok, Riverside, Dumoy, Cabantian and Panacan water supply systems. Both parties have verified that the water quality meets the Philippine National Standards for Drinking Water, the benchmark for water safety in the country.

“We are proud to mark this milestone of our Apo Agua team in partnership with the Davao City Water District to deliver safe, reliable, and sustainable water to the people of Davao. For Aboitiz InfraCapital, this achievement also underscores our commitment to advancing crucial infrastructure, building thriving ecosystems and enhancing the quality of life in the communities we serve while being responsible stewards of the environment,” said AIC President and CEO Cosette Canilao.

In line with the Aboitiz Group’s Great Transformation thrust to become the Philippines’ first techglomerate, Apo Agua has taken an innovative approach to water infrastructure development with the use of advanced technology that ensures it meets the needs of current and future generations.

Apo Agua’s 300 MLD Water Treatment Plant is powered by renewable energy sourced from its own run-of-river hydroelectric power plant. It was designed with the water-energy nexus concept, a first in Southeast Asia — wherein the water used to generate power is treated and supplied to DCWD’s water supply systems, creating an environmentally conscious and efficient water supply cycle.  Moreover, its facility also includes a DOH-accredited laboratory for water quality analysis that is capable of conducting additional water test parameters – ensuring that high-quality potable water is consistently delivered to DCWD for distribution to its customers.

“We are honored to be serving the people and thriving community of Davao City. With our partner, DCWD, we are ensuring that each drop causes a ripple, not only in sustaining the immediate needs of Davaoeños but also in fueling the long-term growth of the region,” said Apo Agua President and AIC Head of Water Business Eduardo Aboitiz. “As we continue on this journey, we look forward to further collaborative efforts that leave a lasting impact on the communities we serve and the nation we are building together.”

“An undertaking of this magnitude wouldn’t have been possible without the strong support of our key stakeholders who all had a hand in completing the DCBWSP. We are immensely grateful to the local government of Davao City from Mayor Duterte to the city council, DCWD led by Chairman Ed Bangayan, and our dedicated team members at Apo Agua for their unwavering commitment and hard work in making this vital project a reality,”  Apo Agua Operations Head Shake Tuason adds. 

The announcement on the formal start of the Davao City bulk water operations was made on January 9, 2024, coinciding with the Davao City resolution acknowledging and expressing the people’s gratitude for the contribution and efforts of former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Vice President Sara Duterte, and the continuation of the present administration of Davao City Mayor Sebastian Duterte, for the eventual completion and operation of the DCBWSP. 

Over the past decade, Davao City has transformed to become a hub of industry and activity. The city government and the DCWD initiated the bulk water supply project to meet the exponential growth and water demands of the city, with then-President Duterte leading the groundbreaking back in 2018 to officially kick off the ambitious project. There he stressed that access to safe drinking water is a fundamental right that must be enjoyed by every Filipino.

The DCBWSP project has two vital components: Part A is the production and treatment of water supply led by Apo Agua, involving the construction of Raw Water Facilities, a Water Treatment Plant, and Treated Water pipelines. Part B is the distribution of water supply to consumers managed by DCWD. Apo Agua produces water for DCWD’s eight off-take points (OTP): Talandang, Calinan, Tugbok, Panacan, Cabantian, Panorama, Mandug, and Indangan.

Tamugan River has been identified by the DENR as Class A, meaning it is suitable for conventional water treatment. This invaluable natural water resource will serve as a lifeline for Davaoeños, providing them with essential drinking water through the Davao City Bulk Water Supply Project.

Apo Agua is also taking steps to ensure the protection and conservation of Davao City’s newest water source. Through DCWD’s Adopt-A-Site Project, Apo Agua rehabilitated a fifty-hectare site within the Panigan-Tamugan Watershed area. This initiative will mitigate the impacts of climate change and enhance the watershed’s ability to serve as a catchment basin and, in the process, increase river flow.