Apo Agua bulk wa­ter sup­ply pro­ject tap­ping Ta­mu­gan River ap­proved by Davao coun­cil

Business World - - THE ECONOMY - Car­mencita A. Car­illo

DAVAO CITY — The city coun­cil has ap­proved Apo Agua In­fras­truc­tura, Inc.’s (AAII) pro­posed bulk wa­ter sup­ply pro­ject, which will pro­vide 300 mil­lion liters per day sourced from the Ta­mu­gan River.

The coun­cil con­ducted marathon ses­sions this week to dis­cuss the or­di­nance grant­ing the com­pany’s re­quest for the ad­di­tional al­low­able use of an 85,258-square me­ter area in Barangay Gu­malang, Baguio District for the wa­ter treat­ment fa­cil­ity.

The P10-bil­lion bulk wa­ter pro­ject was granted con­cur­rence by the city coun­cil last year through Res­o­lu­tion No. 02754-16, but was sub­ject to some con­di­tions such as more de­tailed plans and as­sess­ments re­lat­ing to so­cioe­co­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact.

The ad­di­tional re­quest was first pre­sented to the coun­cil in June, but was re­manded to the com­mit­tee level for fur­ther dis­cus­sion after var­i­ous stake­hold­ers raised is­sues such im­pact on the host com­mu­nity and the as­sign­ment of Davao City Wa­ter District’s (DCWD) wa­ter rights to AAII, a part­ner­ship be­tween Aboitiz Eq­uity Ven­tures (AEV), Inc. and J.V. An­ge­les Con­struc­tion Corp.

DCWD, a public en­tity that holds the fran­chise for wa­ter dis­tri­bu­tion in Davao City, cur­rently gets its wa­ter sup­ply from un­der­ground sources us­ing more than 50 pro­duc­tion wells.

With the coun­cil’s ap­proval, AAII is hop­ing to start ground work within the year for the hy­dro­elec­tric-pow­ered fa­cil­ity even as other govern­ment per­mits re­main pend­ing.

“We have started with the de­sign and once we get the al­low­able use, we will get the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion for el­i­gi­bil­ity to con­vert from the De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture, and then to the De­part­ment of Agrar­ian Re­form for con­ver­sion,” AAII Gen­eral Man­ager Cir­ilo C. Al­mario III said in an in­ter­view.

Mr. Al­mario said the tar­get is to have the bulk wa­ter sup­ply sys­tem op­er­a­tional by 2019, but this could pos­si­bly be moved to 2020, de­pend­ing on how soon the com­pany can se­cure the per­mits.

Mean­while, one of the coun­cilors stressed that his aff ir­ma­tive vote on the pro­ject re­mains sub­ject to cer­tain con­di­tions, in­clud­ing the sub­mis­sion of a man­i­fes­ta­tion from AAII that the power that will be gen­er­ated from the pro­ject’s hy­dropower plant com­po­nent will be for the ex­clu­sive use of the bulk wa­ter sup­ply and not sold to the grid.

“There is no doubt the pro­ject be­ing pro­posed by Apo Agua will con­trib­ute to the devel­op­ment of the city. Projects such as this are laud­able, but dur­ing de­lib­er­a­tion of this item, I raised sev­eral con­cerns. Un­for­tu­nately, some of these con­cerns have not been suf­fi­ciently ad­dressed,” Coun­cilor Je­sus Joseph P. Zo­zo­brado said, not­ing that the in­fra­struc­ture will be lo­cated in a de­clared wa­ter­shed area.

AAII Direc­tor Manuel M. Orig, who was present dur­ing the coun­cil hear­ings, de­clined to make the man­i­fes­ta­tion sought by Mr. Zo­zo­brado, say­ing that the pri­mary pur­pose of the com­pany un­der its ar­ti­cles of in­cor­po­ra­tion is to de­velop and man­age in­fra­struc­ture projects in gen­eral, which could in­clude en­ergy.

AAII’s ma­jor­ity share­holder, AEV, has power gen­er­a­tion and dis­tri­bu­tion ven­tures through sev­eral other sub­sidiaries, in­clud­ing within Davao City.

Nonethe­less, Mr. Orig as­sured that AAII has no im­me­di­ate en­er­gyre­lated plans.

“We would like to clar­ify that at the present time, we do not have any in­ten­tion to sell power to out­side par­ties but when the time comes, we will come to the city coun­cil to ap­ply for author­ity or en­dorse­ment to sell ex­cess power to the other par­ties. This is a choice of our source be­ing re­new­able. We should not waste the op­por­tu­nity for the city of Davao to cap­i­tal­ize on this re­source,” Mr. Orig ex­plained.

Coun­cilor Bernard E. Alag pointed out that the AAII hy­dropower plant’s ex­pected out­put is 2.2 megawatts, which is the es­ti­mated power re­quired to run the bulk wa­ter fa­cil­ity. —

THE DAVAO CITY coun­cil has ap­proved Apo Agua In­fras­truc­tura, Inc.’s P10-bil­lion bulk wa­ter pro­ject sourced from the Ta­mu­gan River.

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