DavOr eyes desalting seawater to boost drinking water supply

A skimboarder walks towards the shoreline amidst the swirling waves in Dahican Beach in Mati City, Davao Oriental .on Saturday, April 22, 2017. Mindanews File Photo

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 12 September) – Davao Oriental is planning to tap seawater as a sustainable source of drinking water utilizing a desalinization technology from Taiwan.

The move came after decades-long efforts by the coastal province to obtain sufficient potable water supply proved futile.

In a press briefing on Wednesday, Ednar G. Dayanghirang, chief of staff of Davao Oriental governor Nelson Dayanghirang, said he had visited Taiwan from September 1 to 5 to check on its desalinization plant in Pengwu County, which draws a daily supply of 10 million liters of potable water from the sea.

“The government keeps on drilling but we also run out of supply,” he said.

A group of Taiwanese has also scheduled a visit to Davao Oriental next week for an ocular inspection and come up with a design of the desalinization plant that is tailored-fit to the needs of the province, he said.

He added the provincial government has been undertaking efforts to provide fresh water supply such as drilling, spring development and rainwater catchment technologies but the supply has remained insufficient.

“Now, we are thinking why not think out of the box. I know we are not used to it, that’s why we need to study it and learn why the Taiwanese are successful with desalinization,” he said.

Once approved by the provincial government, Dayanghirang said the project can be put in place by next year.

“The water available would be sustainable because it comes from the sea and it’s cheaper. It will not destroy the environment because we do not have drill the ground,” he said.

Dayanghirang had also met with a group of Americans and Filipinos who developed a smaller desalinization plant that can produce about 12,000 liters of fresh water a day.

He said the smaller technology is worth P2 million and can be set up in barangays and smaller towns of the province.

The desalinization plant can also benefit the coconut industry in Davao Oriental because the salt derived from the seawater can be used to fertilize the coconut trees, the major crop commodity of the province. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)