Thursday, September 8, 2011

Aboitiz Coal-Fired Plant

There were issues that I failed to notice as far as details are concerned these past days. One is the controversial 300-megawatt coal-fired plant of the Aboitiz Power Corporation. The project is meeting criticisms for a number of reason ranging from, for one, environmental concern to health hazards it may pose to the residents of Binugao (Toril, Davao Ciy).

Now the update, as for me, is that no less than Vice mayor Rody Duterte questions the project for its freshwater water extraction, apparently, contrary to what he was made to believe by the Aboitiz  lobbyists, that it would sip up water from the sea to cool down the plant's generators.

Davao City has one of the best drinking water in the country if not the world. But Aboitiz wants to suck from the aquifer of Davao City over half a million cubic meters of freshwater every year. Who would not be apprehensive? VM Duterte is apprehensive since this obviously will add pressure to the city's important water source which can be detrimental to the basic need of the people of Davao City in terms of drinking water. Who can determine that the total demand of the coal-fired plant will not exhaust the supply in the aquifer? The proponent will have to explain how their operations will not negatively impact the groundwater. Unfortunately, we have to wait yet for their expert who is outside the country.

We really need to boost our power need because of the growing demand for electricity of the city. No question about that. But not in a way that we expose the integrity of our supply of precious freshwater to industrial abuse. Indeed, with this controversial issue or issues, coal plant project is not cool.

Btw, we are dumbfounded to know that even our very own Davao City Water District (DCWD) has no hydrologist of its own. Remember that DCWD is sucking water from all the water sources of the city and yet it has no experts who could supposedly evaluate the integrity of our aquifers, among other things, on  regular basis.