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.