Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Save Tamugan River

The Tamugan River in Baguio Disrtict is currently under serious environmental threat. Being Davao City’s last remaining source of drinking water, Tamugan should be spared from industrial uses that may compromise its capacity to provide Davawenos with clean water supply in the near future.

With plans of Hedcor, Inc. to set up a P6 billion hydropower plant within the Tipolog-Tamugan watershed, the mighty river’s reliability as our future’s drinking water source is put at risk.

This site aims to provide helpful information on our SAVE TAMUGAN RIVER CAMPAIGN. You may download our primer, slides, Citizens Manifesto, and other materials for your reference.

To join the campaign, download the manifesto, print and sign it, circulate to as many people as you can, and fax/mail to:

The General Manager
Davao City Water District
J.P. Laurel Ave., Bajada, Davao City 8000
Tel No. (82) 221-9400 loc. 268, 276, 227
Fax (82) 226-4885

Spare Tamugan!
A Primer on DCWD’s Opposition to
Hedcor’s Hydropower Project

What is the DCWD Tamugan Surface Water Development Project?

The TSWD is a proactive initiative of the Davao City Water District (DCWD) aimed at addressing the long-term water requirements of Davao City. Its expected daily production of 200,000 cubic meters will increase the number of barangays that can be served by the water district since the proposed project will cover several areas that are not presently served by DCWD.

DCWD will draw water from Tamugan River in Baguio District 400 meters above mean sea level. With an infiltration gallery positioned at this exact elevation, water will flow through 60 kilometers of transmission pipelines to the water treatment plant at Barangay Gumalang at Elevation 325, and the DCWD reservoir at Mayahayay, Tugbok, all of District 3, to Lasang in District 2.

What was the basis of conceiving the TSWD project?

The anticipation of increasing demands in the future, considering population growth and urbanization trends, necessitates the DCWD to look for alternative water sources that will supplement the current sources and help curtail the rate of groundwater depletion. The use of alternative water sources will also save on energy usage since groundwater extraction is a power-intensive operation. In 2007 alone, DCWD spent PhP211 million in electricity for this purpose, or about 24 percent of its total operating revenue. Granting there are no power rate increases in the future, this figure could go as high as PhP314 million in five years.

Why Tamugan River?

Based on several independent studies of all other rivers in the city, Tamugan River is the only remaining source that has the required quality, quantity and viability for the city’s long-term water supply. The confluence of Panigan and Tamugan rivers discharges sufficient quantity of water at an acceptable water quality.

Moreover, the precise location of the TSWD intake is favorable to a gravity fall of water at sufficient pressure, thus, considerably reducing the amount of electricity needed for its operation. Consequently, its long term effect will enable DCWD to be less dependent on energy. The other surface water sources considered either lack in flow rate necessary to supply the projected demands of the city, or fall short of the national standards for the quality of drinking water.

But why insist on developing surface water? Don’t we have enough groundwater resources?

Not anymore. Davao City, reputed to have one of the best potable waters in the world, currently derives more than 99 percent of its water from groundwater sources to provide potable water to over 165,000 homes and businesses all over the city. A total of 212,000 cubic meters are being extracted daily. Total volume of groundwater extracted reached 78 million cubic meters in 2007, increasing annually by 5.06 percent over the past two decades. By 2012, total extractions are expected to reach over 115 million cubic meters, or 314,000 cubic meters daily. In addition, large industrial users and private well owners have been withdrawing from groundwater sources for their own use.

Groundwater, contrary to popular belief, is finite and must be utilized wisely and managed carefully to be able to sustain it for future generations.

Does the DCWD have a permit for this purpose?

Yes. As early as May 1997, a water permit was already issued by NWRB to DCWD to use water from Tamugan River. In fact, it has already been conducting community development activities in the said area, such as watershed rehabilitation and river bank protection efforts, in preparation for the TSWD.

What is Hedcor Tamugan, Inc.?

Hedcor Tamugan Inc. (HTI) is a power generation company planning on establishing a PhP6 billion, 20 megawatt hydropower plant in Tamugan, Baguio District. HTI is a wholly owned subsidiary of Aboitiz Power Corporation, the publicly listed holding company of all Aboitiz assets in the power generation and distribution industries.

Why is DCWD opposing HEDCOR’s proposed hydropower project in Tamugan?

The DCWD is strongly opposing Hedcor’s project because it compromises the city’s future source of safe drinking water.

This assessment is contained in a study conducted by NJS Consultants Co., Ltd., which concluded that water from Tamugan River is the “best in terms of quality, quantity, and viability for Davao City’s long term water supply requirements.”

Davao City is one of the nine water-critical urbanized areas in the Philippines where water is consumed intensively. The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) confirmed that the underground water supply in many densely populated areas in the country is already on a critical level due to unabated extraction of groundwater. This fate could well be Davao City’s if no drastic measures are undertaken within the immediate future. –Master Plan Study on Water Resources Management in the Republic of the Philippines

*** SAVE TAMUGAN RIVER CAMPAIGN @ Brokenshire College ***


  1. Good day!

    This is a very serious and important matter for us Davaoenos. It's good that we have these campaigns to stop the threat of destruction to our water source.

    I just wanted to know who organized this event? This is because we would also want to hold an event with similar objectives as to this.

    Also, we are in the process of asking help from local people so we would have a more credible stand on the issue.


    Khryss Pude
    External-Affairs Head
    Co-founde, Parkour Davao

  2. hi khryss/chunks!
    i guess you can contact/communicate with the:

    The General Manager
    Davao City Water District
    J.P. Laurel Ave., Bajada, Davao City 8000
    Tel No. (82) 221-9400 loc. 268, 276, 227
    Fax (82) 226-4885

    you may also visit this site:
    for more info.

  3. this is a very serious problem especially for "us" davaoenos!!! the hedcor should back out!!!! this is our future we're talking about... don't they think for the people who are gonna suffer the (probable) negative effects of this hydropower? we people should be firm on saving our environment...our future...our life!!


  4. we need to save this water shed... we should be aware that this water formation will be used by our children's children.