Water wars

It is said that the next major world conflict or future wars will be about water.

Well, actually one is already raging in our city. But thank God, this war uses no bullets or bombs.

The war pits the government-owned water utility, the Davao City Water District, against the privately-owned clean energy firm Hedcor. DCWD wants to tap the surface water of the Tamugan River for its future supply; Hedcor wants to use the same river to generate hydropower to answer the expected power supply shortage by 2010-11.

A number of battlefronts have been opened in their war over the Tamugan and other rivers in Marilog District, some 50 kilometers northwest of the city.

Front 1 – among the indigenous peoples in nine affected barangays (villages). Hedcor has undertaken community prep work to win over the IP communities; – Hedcor has the upperhand;

Front 2 – at the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) in Manila which grants permit for water use. DCWD was granted permit for Tamugan as early as 10 years ago but has not done any concrete project to tap surface water. DCWD is currently extracting almost 100 percent of its supply from underground water like in Dumoy. Hedcor has a pending application; DCWD has the upperhand;

Front 3 – Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) which grants environmental permits; EMB has put the application of Hedcor for ECC on hold; – DCWD has the upperhand

Front 4 – City Council – The committee report of the Committee on Energy is ready and just awaiting the counterpart committee report of the Committee on Environment; majority of the members of the city council believe that both DCWD and Hedcor can use the same water; Hedcor has upperhand

Front 5 – media – both have their PR campaigns; However, DCWD is embroiled in a number of controversial issues such as poor service, non-payment of taxes, and alleged agency corruption; due to skyrocketing cost of fossil fuel and climate change, many people seek clean alternative energy; Hedcor has the upperhand;

Front 6 – you! – the people, the ultimate consumer of both water and power.

Which side are you in favor?

Or are you like me who believes that they can co-exist?

Your views are valuable, as in the case of the many comments on our Ayala Center Davao post. Please send them and be part of the water war.

5:08 a.m.

10 Responses to “Water wars”

  1. Water wars : PinoyBlogoSphere.com (PBS) Says:

    […] Please continue here … […]

  2. hoop Says:

    Hi Sir Pete…

    I believe that they should coexist… with the impending energy shortage in Mindanao come 2010 projected by the DOE its good that we tap alternative energy to fill the demand instead of fossil fuel based power plants.

    What better way to entice investors to setup here than with an energy surplus?

    It might be good too, to have an energy source near the city, what with the memory of the bukidnon relay station tripping and shoving davao into a half day blackout still fresh in my mind.

  3. Guillermo Prat Says:

    Peter and Hoop, coexist. This is a war that has our future resource base at stake. The IP are also in our future. I had written about this in the past, maybe not to you Peter, coexist is the ideal. We have been debating on the issue of the business climate of the city. If the council can pull a “coexist” formula out of the hat, a coexist formula which addresses all issues and concerns, the council will have proven to the world, IFC included, that Davao City has been unfairly judged by their survey. Let’s share a cup of coffee on this.LOL

  4. datu bago Says:

    I think this is not a big problem it’s just someone’s greedy here imo , they should co-exist and need both supplies.afaik Ma. Cristina falls have no problem in there water supply which supplies power half of mindanao , we just need reservoir both for power & water supplies. i’ll take my chances on hydro power than coal-fired power.

  5. Marlita Quezon Says:

    The can co-exist, right., but not on the very same area where the DCWD has already got the permit for.

    The good for the greater majority cannot be compromised by HEDCOR’s buying the hearts of the TWO barangays and the City Council, as against the 185 barangays and more than a million residents.

    HEDCOR can always look for other areas in the Davao River System., why should it concentrate on the area where the DCWD has prior rights?

    Is is to assure the dependency for eternity by the DCWD for
    DLPC ( sister company of HEDCOR ) power?

    If the aquefiers of Dumoy can no longer serve the population., are we going to go back to the Antiquated Tanks, which will store ACID rain? or are we going to tap the
    Davao river along Bangkerohan?

    The studies indicate at the current rate of extraction, we will
    have no Dumoy water in 5 years.

    The anticipated power crisis in 2010-11 is merely an extension of the projected power crisis that was supposed to hit last year yet.

    The city can very well live to the expectation that pronouncements will stay as they are., just pure hype

    What will the City show of to the world? A city with enough
    power but without water? Or a power efficient city with enough water.

  6. envilink Says:

    They should not co-exist. Many studies show that power generation in Tamugan River greatly affects the ecosystem of the area. It will make the water source low in quality. I strongly believed that we have to use it for water consumtion rather than power.

  7. Guillermo Prat Says:

    Gee, no Dumoy h20 in 5 years! Never heard of that. But if that is true, we should stop the car wash all over the city. Stop watering the plants at the People’s park, homes and confine the fire station to getting water at Bangkerohan instead of the hydrants that have the 2nd best water in the world! DCWD says they have a 30% systems loss. Outrageous!
    We should begin working on a sewerage system that can treat water from our faucets, wash areas and shower to reduce the amount of water coming from Dumoy.
    And yes, put up those antiquated water tanks again even if they get acid rain that would be good for household needs like flushing toilets and watering plants.
    You see, solutions have to be worked on before we ran out of water or power, not when we have black outs or water rationing. Work! Think! Solve! We still have time to do that, right?

  8. Marlita Quezon Says:

    Mr. Prat:

    Yes it is outrageous to have a systems loss (NRW) of 30%
    when you talk of the 2nd best quality water in the world, and the amount of electricity that is required to bring it to
    our faucets.

    It takes around P 3.50 per Cu. M. for every stage in pumping
    the water, think about the 3x pumping to serve the Shrine Hills area?

    DLPC will only be too happy to have DCWD under its control.
    I reiterate, the savings that DCWD gets in reduced power consumption can very well play a major part in the anticipated power shortage, and efficiency in the use of both power and water is the long-term key, and the win-win
    solution to the problem and issue.

    Having a comprehensive sewerage system is a long-term solution., the short term solution is to recylce water and make sure that every drop counts., the medium term solution is to chemically treat used water so that it can be used for washing, not for drinking.

    Virsantech is one company in the business of treating used water.

  9. Hio Tiao Lim Says:

    I came in late at the Club 888 Media forum at Marco Polo because I had to get the ownership papers for my digital camera., otherwise I could have thrown this question to
    Councilor Braga… Maybe you could also pitch in your reply
    Councilor Laviña ?

    During the electric power crisis that gripped the entire nation in the early 90’s, did anybody complain about the supply of water ( DCWD was 100% and is still 100% dependent on electric power ) ?

    In the event that HEDCOR pulls out of the area, even if there is a power shortage, there wont be any water supply
    problems because water will flow down from 400 meters above sea level.

    Councilor Pete and Pilar; I am inviting my new contact in London who is dealing with energy efficiency products and
    services, which I think will really make a mark here in Davao, to the DATE next month.

    I hope he will accept my invitation, I am as well inviting an
    American counterpart.

    Will just update you of the developments

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