Work on the Davao City Bulk Water Project will be delayed, according to a representative from Apo Agua Infrastructura, Inc. (AAII).
This, after the city has struggled with intermittent water supply, specifically in its highland areas, with pumps mostly providing the city with water.
The project aims to provide water supply sourced from the Panigan-Tamugan water system to the city.
Speaking to the city council last week, AAII director Manuel Orig said the implementation of the project would be delayed unless the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) prioritizes the signature of its land conversion request.
The city government has already given its no-objection on the project, with the next move expected to come from the DAR.
The AAII is seeking land conversion of a portion of property in the project site for the use of the land.
According to Orig, the DAR approval is the only item pending before the primary construction activities can occur.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) has also already approved a request for the eligibility to convert the agricultural land to industrial use.
As of April 20, the AAII has submitted its application to the DAR.
The request is now at the level of the DAR legal affairs, Orig said, with DAR Sec. John Castriciones expected to approve within the year.
The Bulk Water system was originally calendared for completion by July 2021.
To date, Orig said that the AAII has meanwhile sought for the acquisitions of the right of way, as well as the detailed design of the project.
AAII is also conducting surveys of the topography of the area, as well as analyzing raw water quality in the site.
“Even if we do not obtain approval of DAR by July 2018, construction of structures outside of the areas that require DAR approval will proceed as planned,” Orig said.
“We decided to undertake advance works after reasonably ascertaining that there is a good chance we can obtain the final approval of DAR especially on the strength of Mayor Duterte’s letter, dated May 11, to Secretary Castriciones endorsing its approval,” Orig added.
In her last State of the City Address, Mayor Sara Duterte called on the city council to expedite the approval of the then-pending request of Apo Agua to provide better water pressure for the other major parts of the city, with residential development currently outpacing water supply here.