RIVER POLLUTERS: City, Apo Agua to run after firms polluting Tamugan

The government of Davao City and the Apo Agua Infrastructura, Inc. (AAII) have joined forces to  protect the Tamugan River system from the encroachment of agricultural companies whose operation might compromise the quality of water that will be taken from the river and supplied to the Davao City Water District.

This was bared by Apo Agua general manager Cirilo “Ones” Almario during yesterday’s staging of the Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM Annex. Almario appeared with Jovana Cresta Duhaylungsod, deputy spokesperson of the DCWD.

Almario said that the construction of the Davao City Bulk Water Supply Project (DCBWSP), costing P12.6 billion, by Apo Agua starting last February 14, will be completed in mid- 2021.

By then, AAII will be ready to supply DCWD at least 300 million liters of potable water a day, Almario told reporters.

Almario said AAII’s part of the bulk water project comprises the Tamugan River intake facilities that includes the weir, desander, surge tanks going to the water treatment plant near Barangay Gumalang, including 56 kilometers of large water pipes to carry the water supply to eight reservoirs of the water district, which is currently rehabilitating its reservoirs and building distribution lines to its consumers at the cost of P2 billion.

Apo Agua began constructing access roads going to Tamugan River and the water treatment plant and related facilities at Barangay Gumalang last month, he said.

The project’s detailed design, which was started in March 2018, will be finished this month.

Almario said that concerned city government and national agency officials, particularly those involved in the Davao City Watershed Management Council (WMC) are coming up with an operational plan on how to enforce laws designed to protect the Tamugan-Panigan River system and other watershed areas from the onslaught of potential polluters like banana plantations, poultry and livestock famers using harmful chemicals and throwing toxic wastes.

Apo Agua is willing to help in the task although policing the protected areas in the city is the primary responsibility of the WMC as stipulated in an ordinance creating it and related national laws, Almario said.

“The DCBWSP is a strategic infrastructure initiative that will shift the dependence of Davao City’s main water supply from groundwater wells to the more sustainably-sourced surface water from the Tamugan River,” Almario said. 

Through this source, the project will access both the right quality and ample quantity of water in order to allow the DCWD to temporarily shut down many of its groundwater well sources. 

This, in turn, will ensure the preservation of the city’s water table and save it from irreversible environmental degradation such as land subsidence and saltwater intrusion–both typical results of groundwater over-extraction.

Upon operation of the largest private bulk water supply facility in the country, the project will provide the DCWD with over 300 million liters per day (mld) of safe water or a minimum total of 109 million and 500 thousand cubic liters per year. 

The contract indicated that each cubic liter is pegged at P12.50.

March 12, 2019 Edge Davao
Adam Morrell