THE Davao City Water District (DCWD) and Apo Agua Infrastructura Inc. (AAII) called on the City Council to approve the Davao City Bulk Water Supply Project in a bid to provide a long-term adequate, reliable and sustainable water supply system.

The P10-billion water supply project, the first-of-its-kind in the city to use surface water, will supply up to 300 million liters per day (MLD) to DCWD.

AAII, a joint venture between Aboitiz Equity Ventures (AEV) and J.V Angeles Construction Corporation (JVACC), will manage the construction and operation of the project, while DCWD will serve as the distributor to the consumers.

"We request the local government unit to approve the construction and operation of the Davao City Bulk Water Supply Project," said Manuel M. Orig, Aboitiz Power Corp., first vice president for Mindanao Affairs.

Councilor Danilo Dayanghirang said in an interview that he is happy for the project because it will answer the water supply needs of the city.

"The project is expected to answer the water supply problem in Davao especially in the 2nd district but we still have to discuss thoroughly on this to understand better the value of this project. We want to make sure that this will not impose a massive increase on water rates," the councilor said.

Lawyer Bernardo Delima Jr., spokesperson of DCWD, said that no water rate increase will be implemented until 2018, but added there might be an increase by 2019, the year the project will start operating.

"At present, we are still on the process of securing permits from various agencies. For this year, it will be for permit processing and the next three years will be for construction, so hopefully the project will start operating in 2019," Delima said.

The bulk water supply will be sourced from Tamugan River, then will be fed to a hydroelectric-powered water treatment plant. It will operate separately from the Mindanao power grid and the city's power distributor Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC).

"We are tapping the Tamugan river for the project because of its sufficient flow of good raw water quality," Orig said.

Engineer Ronal Mu¤oz, representative of DCWD, said that the river is the most viable and feasible source of the project because of its enough quantity, acceptable quality and sustainability as potable water.

The DCWD will also allocate P2 billion in setting up reservoirs and pipelines for easy access of water from bulk water supply project.

The project is said to reduce the DCWD's reliance on groundwater deep-wells water systems. DCWD data showed that 99.3 percent of its water system is groundwater reliant while only 0.7 percent is sourced from two small springs.

The project will also meet the increasing demand of water supply in the city. The first phase is estimated to generate 300 MLD or 109 million cubic meters per year. The DSWD projected that the demand for water consumption for 2019 will reach a total of 117 million cubic meters. The remaining 10 million cubic meters will be sourced from the groundwater deep-wells water systems.

The bulk water supply system will also enable DCWD to expand its service area to six barangays which will add to its current 108 out of the 182 service areas in the city.

At present, the city is sourcing its water supply from the water systems of Dumoy, Tugbok, Cabantian, Lubogan, Malagos, and Calinan, among others.