Apo Agua: Diversion of Tamugan River did not cause water to subside but the expanding riverbank

Photo credit to Save Davao Watershed Facebook Page
Photo credit to Save Davao Watershed Facebook Page

IN ITS defense, Apo Agua Infrastructura, Inc. addressed the issue of Tamugan River claiming that their diversion of water did not cause the river’s water to subside, rather it was due to the expanding riverbank which gave the illusion that the river’s water diminished.

Councilor Temujin "Tek" Ocampo told SunStar Davao in an ambush interview Tuesday morning, September 12, at the Sangguniang Panlungsod, that Apo Agua has addressed the issue regarding the low water level of Tamugan River during a committee hearing he spearheaded last September 8.

Ocampo, the chairperson of the committee on environment and natural resources, invited Apo Agua to the committee hearing where the latter presented its study and addressed the issue of the low water levels of the Tamugan River. 

The committee hearing was attended by Davao City Water District (DCWD), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-Davao), Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS) who represented the community, City Environment and Natural Resources (Cenro), and other concerned agencies to share their opinions and comments regarding the matter. 

Apo Agua explained that they diverted the river’s water from July 28 to 30 so they could treat the water and direct it to the Davao City Bulk Water Supply Project (DCBWSP). The agency also said that after a few days, the water level returned to its normal level.

Ocampo explained that Apo Agua and DCWD had the necessary permits needed to divert water from the river. 

Apo Agua even assured that the diversion of water did not affect the natural environment in the vicinity which was confirmed by the assessment of the DENR-Davao. 

DENR-Davao said that the Tamugan River is "healthy" despite previously having low water levels. 

Before the diversion of water, a flood occurred in the area which caused the riverbed to expand. This has resulted in the illusion that the level of water decreased but in actuality, it still has the same amount of volume. Apo Agua even presented a video footage and explained it to the committee.

“So kung lapad gani ang riverbed ang volume sa tubig mao lang gihapon naay gamay illusion na nahubas gyud kay gamay nalang ang giagian sa tubig, when in fact wala gyud siya nahubas (If the riverbed is wide, the volume of water is still the same. It just brings an illusion that the water subsided because of the small route that the water is traversing),” Ocampo said.

Ocampo confirmed that the water level of Tamugan did not subside although the El Nino has affected the river. He, however, said that it is not as severe as to cause the water to be at a critical level. He added that the phenomenon only has “little to no effect” on the river and the river water is still at a normal level and is enough to supply the bulk water project. 

Additionally, the committee suggested to Apo Agua that they should inform the community before they divert the water from the river so as not to cause alarm or concern from the community residing around the Tamugan River. 

The councilor expressed that once the project is fully operational there will be instances when Apo Agua will be diverting water for the bulk water project but this will not result in the draining of the river’s water since only a part of the river will be diverted for the bulk water project. 

Apo Agua promised the committee that once both parties are ready they will then submit it to the 20th Council. 

Ocampo said that if by 2023, the bulk water project is still not ready to provide the much-needed water to the Dabawenyos, their committee, as well as the committee on water and energy, will discuss what the next course of action will be by the council. RGP


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