DAVAO CITY — Aboitiz-controlled Apo Agua Infrastructura Inc.’s (AAII) P12.6-billion bulk water supply project for Davao City will serve 70% of the urban area when completed in the first half of next year, the city’s water district said.

Bernardo D. Delima, Jr., spokesman for the water distributor, Davao City Water District (DCWD), said the water to be supplied by AAII will focus on the city center and growth areas, while other water sources will continue to be used for the peripheries.

“We really cannot cover the whole of Davao City. Our mandate is to serve the urban areas only and that is where we are concentrating. More or less we will be able to serve Davao around close to 70%,” Mr. Delima said during this week’s AFP-PNP Press Corps media forum.

Davao City’s land area is 2,444 square kilometers, making it the biggest city in the Philippines.

“We have to remember that the bulk water supply project will not be the only water source of the Davao City Water District. But it will be the major water source. For those areas that will not be served, we will still be utilizing our ground water sources and additional production wells,” DCWD Deputy Spokesperson Jovana Cresta T. Duhaylungsod said.

AAII, a joint venture between Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc. and JV Angeles Construction Corp., started building the project, which will source water from the Tamugan River, in late 2018. It is expected to be operational by 2020.

Meanwhile, Mr. Delima said DCWD is also on track with its P2-billion pipe distribution network upgrade and expansion projects.

Of the 32 projects, 20 have been completed and most are operational. The remaining 12 are expected to be completed this year.

The AAII bulk water project will deliver 300 million liters per day (MLD) to DCWD as provided under their supply agreement.

Meanwhile, the DCWD said it is willing to take over the management of the water distribution inside Deca Homes if the developer, 8990 Housing Development Corp., turns over the system to the government agency at no cost.

“Deca is being operated by a different water supply provider. Our condition before we can enter is for the water provider to endorse or turn over the facility to us,” Mr. Delima said.

Since December, a number of Deca Homes residents have been posting complaints on social media over poor water quality, intermittent supply, and non-transparent water rate structures.

Mr. Delima said DCWD does not hold exclusive authority to distribute water in Davao City.

“All complaints must be endorsed to NWRB (National Water Resources Board) and also when it comes to private water providers, the regulator is also the NWRB,” he said. — Maya M. Padillo