DESPITE challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Apo Agua Infrastructura Inc. (Apo Agua) is targeting to distribute potable water from the Davao City Bulk Water Supply Project (DCBWSP) to its consumers before the end of 2021.
Apo Agua Operations Head Shake Tuason told the media in a press conference that "uncertainties" due to the pandemic, including the strict protocols imposed by the government such as the mandatory quarantine for workers and the need to observe physical distancing in project sites, had caused a setback to the project.
"That has impacted the productivity levels of our workforce," Tuason said on Wednesday, April 14, during an Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) press conference.
He added that they are experiencing logistical constraints from suppliers due to the mobility restrictions, resulting in difficulties and delays in the import of equipment and materials for the completion of their project.
Tuason also attributed the restrictions imposed in the city during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from April to mid-May in 2020, resulting in the temporary suspension of the construction in abidance to the quarantine measure.
Tuason also cited the recent weather conditions.
He said they are still targeting to deliver the project as scheduled and constantly monitoring the current situation.
"In terms of project progress, we're very happy to report that construction is in full swing. We have a [very] aggressive timeline for us to complete the project [and] for us to have the first drop of water by the end of this year," Tuason said.
To fast-track the project, the official said they had to increase their manpower from 2,000 onsite workers during the pre-pandemic to 4,500.
DCWD spokesperson Jovana Cresta Duhaylungsod said even if the infrastructure project of the bulk water will be completed, there will be a series of comprehensive testing, evaluation and integration processes to be conducted.
"It doesn't mean na paghuman ni Apo Agua, start dayon ta og distribute (that when Apo Agua finishes the construction, we will immediately start the distribution)," Duhaylungsod said.
She said they will try to shorten the testing period to expedite the distribution of water to the consumers.
Duhaylungsod said they are targeting to fast-track the project to start supplying areas with low or no running water supply and those that have deteriorating water quality.
She added that the imposed quarantine restriction had caused a high water consumption resulting in some areas experiencing low water supply.
If ever the project will not meet its targeted operation, she said DCWD has reserved production wells as a mitigating measure that could cover the increase of water demand by 2022.
She said these wells might not be able to augment further and that the bulk water must be completed soonest.
The project, worth P12.6 billion, is a strategic infrastructure initiative that will shift the dependence of the city's main water supply from groundwater wells to the more sustainably sourced surface water from Tamugan River.
Once operational, the DCBWSP will provide over 300 million liters of safe water per day to more than one million Dabawenyos.