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PIA Press Release

Davao City Council open to watershed amendments

by RG Alama

Davao City (23 March) -- Provided that the water supply of the City is in its topmost priority, the City Council of Davao is opening to the proposal of amending its watershed code.

According to City Councilor Leo Avila III, the council is just waiting for the negotiations between the Davao City Water District and the power generation company Hedcor on the use of the Tamugan River to decide on the amendments. The City Council had denied both companies of the right to build structures in the river which is part of the City's watershed.

During the Kapihan sa Dabaw media forum at Café Rhysus in SM-City Davao which was held last March 22, Avila the chair of the Council's environment committee said that they are not closing their minds on the amendment. He said they are taking a wait-and-see attitude on the negotiations between Hedcor and DCWD.

The water utility firm had wanted to tap the waters of Tamugan to complement its supply of water to the city while Hedcor wanted to tap the river as the site of its run-of-river hydropower plant capable of producing 42 megawatts of electricity. But the two could not agree on the elevation of their plants and facilities.

The city council on the other hand opposed the two companies' proposal to tap Talomo River, which Avila said is the remaining major recharging area for the City's aquifer. He said that 80% of water from the aquifer comes from Talomo River.

However they began softening up when Hedcor decided to downgrade its plans from the original 42-megawatt hydro-plant to a 27-megawatt hydropower facility by tapping only the Tamugan River.

The additional 27 megawatt plant will be a big help to a City currently experiencing power shortage. Currently the Davao City is experiencing two-hour rotational brownouts as Davao Light and Power Company is receiving 96-megawatt less than its daily power consumption of 255-megawatts.

Avila said that the City Council is broadminded on the matter of tapping its watershed. However they just wanted to be assured that the security of the water supply of the City is top priority.

"Water first, before anything else." Avila said. (PIA XI) [top]

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