Wasted time

The Mindanao Daily Mirror editorial today warned that there is no time to waste in the water wars between the local water utility DCWD and the hydro power firm Hedcor over the use of Tamugan River in the west of the city.

I fully agree.

Unfortunately, DCWD has already wasted over a decade in foot-dragging on this issue.

The water firm was granted a permit for the use of the river as far back as 1997. It has dilly-dallied and has not delivered even a single drop of water from this river to its expanding clientele in the city.

Two major events have thus overtaken its indecision. The first is the expansion of farming in the area during the past ten years that has reportedly contaminated the river; the second is the energy crisis that has demanded for the development of clean energy particularly hydro power.

Had the DCWD acted ten years ago to tap the river, we would not be confronted with this time-wasting debate today.

The board and management of the water firm should be accountable for this clear failure to act accordingly to develop the river as its water source.

They cannot fault others for this wasted time. In fact, its permit should be revoked for this utter inaction.

One down, 2 shouldn’t go

Hedcor has decided to scrap one of three hydro power plants it intends to build in Marilog District due to delays in the project.

Rene Ronquillo, president of the Aboitiz “cleanergy” firm was quoted by the Philippine Star saying its board has decided to scrap the Suawan plant, part of the 34.5 megawatt Tamugan-Panigan-Suawan hydropower project estimated to cost P7 billion. The Suawan plant has a capacity of 7 mw.

The reason for the delay is the opposition of the local water utility, Davao City Water District. The delay is already two years. For us lay people, the dispute is easily resolvable as it pertains mainly on elevation, where water would be tapped by either Hedcor or DCWD, and not on a fundamental issue on the use or misuse of water resources. Technical solutions can certainly fix the problem and both parties have plenty of good engineers.

Further delays in the plans to build the hydro electric facilities to meet local energy shortage by 2010 might altogether scrap the two remaining plants. God forbid.

If the water utility continues to dilly dally, as I have shown in Septage the post below, here’s what I see in the future. Two years down the road, the water district will have to fend off two public anger – poor water service and the dreaded brownouts. Yup, I would squarely put the blame on DCWD if the city suffer from power shortages starting in 2010.

Related posts – Water wars

5:52 a.m.