SLIGHT DELAY   P12-billion bulk water finished in 2021

THE MULTI-BILLION- peso bulk water project that will utilize the surface water of Tamugan River in Davao City has suffered a slight delay as the Apo Agua Infrastructura, Inc. had to spend more than two years on the permitting stage with hundreds of signatures that the firm had to secure.

This was stated by Cirilo “Ones” Almario, Apo Agua general manager, in a project status report he made the other day before members of the Davao City Watershed Management Council (WMC), presided by City Administrator Zuleika Lopez, council co-chair of Mayor Zara Duterte.

Almario, however, said that the huge water project  is still on track and is expected to be completed during the second half of 2021.

Once completed, the bulk water project will be able to produce 300 million litters a day or more than one billion litters of potable water annually. It will be able to supply water to millions of Dabawenyos in unserved and underserved areas in the city’s Second Congressional District in the administrative  districts of Buhangin and Bunawan.

The project  entails the laying down of 56 kilometers of water pipes in a network to be built by the Davao City Water District (DCWD) at a cost of P2 billion. The system that will tap Tamugan River will be provided by Apo Agua, a joint venture of Abotiz Equity Ventures and J V Angeles Consruction  that will  spend  P10 billion on the project.

Once the surface water project goes into full operation, the more than 50 deepwells mostly in the Dumoy area aquifers will be put to rest at least for the next 15 years, thereby enabling the DCWD to save about half a billion pesos every year in electric bill on the electricity-driven pumps.

Apo Agua will help the city government see to it that water it will sell to the DCWD is not polluted by illegal activities in Tamugan river upstream, aside from continuously improving the vegetation in the area. The company has also lined up several corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects will implement for the communities along the bulk water areas regularly.

Apo Agua will share its revenue with the five host barangays in upper Tamugan which ironically  cannot be supplied water from the project. Company executives are still determining the rate of share they’ll give to the barangays.

Apo Agua director Manuel “Bobby” Orig assured the WMC that with the share of the five barangays from the revenue, they will be able to start their own potable water systems.

The representative of the DCWD present during the meeting told the group that the water district has been studying how they can service the waterless barangays.

Administrator Lopez requested the DCWD to present their plans for the barangays during the WMC’s next meeting.

Aside from Director Orig, other Apo Agua officers who assisted Almario in his progress report were Libert Lumuntad, technical manager; Aldwin Chester Dumago, stakeholders relations officer; and Jade Hazel Gamas,  community relations officer.