Pending ruling on land use risks delay of bulk water project in Davao City

Pending ruling on land use risks delay of water project

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Pending ruling on land use risks delay of water project

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

AN OFFICIAL of housing development said on Tuesday, September 5, that they are waiting for the resolution of the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) on the land use for the bulk water project.

Committee on housing, rural and urban development chairperson Rene Elias Lopez said Tuesday that they are waiting for NWRB to approve the additional allowable land use of a property in Gumalang, Marilog that is intended for the development of water treatment facility for the multi-million Tamugan Bulkwater Project.

Lopez said during the weekly edition of the Pulong-Pulong ni Pulong media forum held Tuesday at Councilor's Lounge, that Barangay Tamugan filed a protest before the NWRB against the assignment of water extraction right to Apo Agua.

"This was filed before the National Water Resources Board last May 26 and two weeks ago, a hearing, a preliminary conference was conducted by NWRB in Davao City. They heard the arguments na bakit (on why) may protest. As of this time although this committee was not invited to that conference, I'm still awaiting the resolution of the NWRB regarding the protest filed by Barangay Tamugan," Lopez said.

He added that the application of Apo Agua for additional allowable use of six-hectare property in Barangay Gumalang is pending.

Lopez said the resolution is very crucial to their decision.

"Kasi kung panalo ang Tamugan (Because if Tamugan wins), then, there is no water extraction right. And DCWD cannot anymore assign that right to Apo Agua so wala na silang makuha na tubig (they can’t get any water), so there is no project. That’s very crucial, so right now I am awaiting the results of that conference as this will provide us the guidelines or impetus to determine what will be the proper action that this committee will do. Very important yung report at yung decision ng NWRB (The reports and the decision of NWRB are very important)," Lopez said.

He said that the item was in second reading when such protest was aired so the committee is giving more time for the resolution of the issue since the protest is very crucial since it involves water extraction right of Davao City Water District to Apo Agua.

Lopez said Apo Agua, during the second committee hearing, assured that the project will solve the problem of water in the city.

"I think it is magnanimous of this company to present itself to the city to provide water to our fellow Dabawenyos especially in second district na for so long a time nagkakaproblema (it’s having problems), here, we believe, and I believe too that this is a very viable solution to solve the problem of water especially in the areas in second district," he said.

He said that the Council is discussing to make a good and rational decision to solve the water problem.

Lopez said that if the situation comes out that NWRB upholds the protest of Barangay Tumugan and denies Apo Agua its water permit then they'll have to go back to square one and the DCWD will have to look for other sources to provide much needed water.

"We will have to find what is existing, some areas have no water so we will have to make do with that, right now there is no pending other applications na mag-provide ng water (to provide water) to our residents," he said.

Lopez believes that everybody in the NWRB is geared to a win-win solution and provide clean and adequate water supply to city residents.

Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on September 06, 2017.

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