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Davao water project breaks ground

Joshua Lao



Apo Agua Infrastructura Inc. (Apo Agua), a joint venture company between Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. (AEV) and J.V. Angeles Construction Corp. (JVACC), on Monday began the construction of the Davao City Bulk Water Supply Project (DCBWSP) at its main project site in Barangay Gumalang, Baguio District, Davao City.

President Duterte, joined by key stakeholders, witnessed the event. The kick-off ceremonies serve as a ceremonial start to the project’s three-year construction phase which began with engineering design works earlier this year. Apo Agua is targets to commence operations by the first half of 2021.

Romàn V. Azanza III, president of Apo Agua, said, “As a long-standing partner of Davao City for over 70 years, we at Aboitiz are excited to be working with JVACC in order to provide current and future generations of Davaoeños with a sustainable, safe and dependable source of bulk water supply. Our proven partnership with the Davao City Water District (DCWD) has led us to today’s momentous event where we celebrate the start of construction of our project.”

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.

Set to be the largest private bulk water supply facility in the country, the P12.6-bn project will provide the DCWD with over 300 million liters per day (mld) of safe water. Treated water will be distributed to over one million Davaoeños through the DCWD’s five existing water systems (namely, Dumoy, Calinan, Tugbok, Panacan and Cabantian), as well as via three additional new water systems at Talandang, Mandug and Indangan.

According to Apo Agua’s general manager Ones Almario, the DCBWSP, once completed, will provide 300 million liters per day of safe water which will be delivered to as many as 295,000 households in the city.

“Our commitment with the Davao City Water District (DCWD) is to deliver an average of 300 million liters per day and there is still the capacity to further increase that volume,” Almario told reporters.

DCWD spokesman and lawyer Bernardo de Lima Jr. likewise expressed his happiness as the joint project is finally commencing after being delayed for quite some time.

“We hope that Apo Agua can hurdle all the delays related to the project and with DCBWSP, we can better serve the population of Davao City and expand our services even to those areas where we have water distribution problems,” De Lima said.

“Within Davao City, we will be able to serve the urban areas by 100 percent along with a 24/7 water supply,” he added. The project will provide continuous and uninterrupted supply.
“Our rate is the lowest in the country. Since 2005 there had been no water rate increase,” he said. The overall goal is to make the cost as affordable as possible.

The DCWD official also noted that the impact of the ongoing tax reform on construction cost was not yet imputed in the initial pricing of P18 per cubic meter.

Apo Agua and its engineering, procurement and construction contractor, JVACC, are both committed to developing a sustainable bulk water supply for Davao City. A first in the country, the project’s water treatment facility will be powered by renewable energy sourced from a hydroelectric power plant.

By tapping the Tamugan River, 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.

Sabin Aboitiz, president and CEO of Aboitiz InfraCapital, the Aboitiz Group’s infrastructure unit, said, “Through initiatives such as the DCBWSP, we are able to realize the Aboitiz Group’s purpose of driving change for a better world by advancing business and communities.In particular, we aim to fulfill this promise by providing innovative infrastructure solutions that enable Davao City to carry out its mission to provide clean water to its residents.”

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