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Water Service in Davao

We all need water, to drink, to wash, for laundry and many other uses. Water is needed for daily survival. The biggest need is to drink and be hydrated but we also need it for washing and laundry.

In our home country, we never think about water service, it is always there. Most times if the water utility company needs to do work, they will reroute it so there is not lose of service. If there is to be a loss of service, the customers will be notified well in advance to fill bath tubs and containers.

Here in Davao, there are times or locations where water pressure goes down or service is unavailable. At our first home, in the mornings, since so many people were using water, there was only enough pressure for water to come out of a faucet, but not enough pressure to flow from the shower. Many Filipino homes do not have shower heads and use a bucket and small pail to shower and fill it from a lower faucet.

The supply mains in most housing communities are small and pressure is low. Where we live now, there has only been a few times we did not have water service but mostly the water pressure, even though not as good like in America but sufficient to shower and household needs. In our house, the flow rate drops if more than one faucet supply is on. However, for some areas this would still be good.

When I was working, there was no water service until between 11am and 1pm. Every night someone would fill a small plastic garbage type pail with water to be available for all water uses including flushing the toilet. If the water was exhausted before the service was back, no flushing or water to wash hands was available.

Many homes and businesses have large plastic or metal tanks at their homes. Some use this as a backup for low pressure or outages. There are also subdivisions that only have water service for a few hours a day. Because of the low supply, they turn on service to one area then shut it off and turn it on for the next area. One family I know have a tank and later afternoon when they have service turn on a pump to fill their tank. This daily chore cannot be ignored or forgotten. They cannot use a timer for the pump because the exact time the service is available varies. Without water, the pump will burn out.

Even though Davao’s water is rated one of the best in the Philippines or maybe Asia, most homes buy bottled water and have a standing dispenser. This water is used for drinking. It is delivered weekly and they pick up the empties and replace with the amount of bottles needed for the week.

Living in Davao or probably most urban areas of the Philippines things we took for granted in our home country are not the same as here. Water pressure losses, brownouts (term here used for a blackout or loss of power) phone and internet service and customer service is not the same or quality of service.

28 Responses to “Water Service in Davao”

  1. david S. says:

    Considering the Philippines is in the tropics and has reasonably regular rainfall, it amazes me that more people haven’t implemented water catchment systems. In similar climates like Hawaii, they are quite popular.

    For water pressure issues you might want to look into a system like this:
    If this isn’t available you can easily constuct the equivalent with a water pump, small tank and pressure cutoff guage in line with your water intake.

    • Bruce says:

      David S.,

      There is an ordinance in the city for a vote where all new construction will have to have a water retainment system. The problem is the filtering the water from the dirt and dust on the roofs being collected in the system when it rains.

  2. BrSpiritus says:

    Here where I live there is very little change in pressure from day to day although overall I’d say the pressure is low compared to the USA. Davao’s city water supply was rated best in Asia and is the same or better than any water in the USA.

  3. Evelyn says:

    one of the troubles living in the phil is water shortage…esp in the greater manila area…

  4. Evelyn says:

    i can hear you loud and clear,bruce…
    been there and done that…filling water in a big pail when there is a schedule of brownouts

  5. BrSpiritus says:

    Actually with a rainwater catchment into a tank all you do is put on a “First Flush Diverter” which siphons off the first 50L of water which has the most dirt. The rest goes into the tank.

  6. Marvin says:

    Why are so many Filipinos afraid to take a shower. They would rather run the shower into a bucket and then use a tabo to dump it on their head instead of just standing under the shower. They just love to waste water, if they are not forced to hand pump it from a well and are lucky enough to have a faucet, they think its free flow and leave the faucet open and running down the drain.

    • Ben says:

      Maybe because old habits are hard to break, I guess.

      • Bruce says:


        The older you get, the harder to break. As the old saying with a modern addition “It is hard to teach an old dog new tricks, so buy a puppy, after a while you will appreciate your old dog.”

        I still am in the habit to move to the right lane, but here that is where all the jeepneys stop. Also if I am going to turn at an intersection, I move into the intersection. Here that is illegal and you are supposed to stop at the stop line.

    • Bruce says:


      It they turn off the water when the pail is full and then turn it on to refill, it probably uses less water than a shower. Also many older Filipino houses do not have a shower head or if they do, at low pressure the water will not come out of the shower head.

  7. BrSpiritus says:

    Ummm actually Americans are pretty savvy when it comes to wasting water as well. How many of us leave the water running whilist brushing teeth or having our morning shave? I personally feel a bucket bath uses less water than a shower, even one with a flow restricter.

  8. alan cline says:

    Same issues here in Cagayan de Oro . All of the better sub – divisions have their own water supply . Not sure why water supply is such a problem in this country but i did notice the main line running up the street where we live is smaller than a conventional line that would run off the main line to your house state side . And , yes , i know this ain’t Kansas . 🙂

  9. Tom says:

    Plus they run them next to or inside drainage ditches so if there is a break in the line the water can become contaminated. The repairmen just patch the break and go they never flush the system.

    Several people caught typhoid in one province recently when a break in the line was patched this way.

    • Bruce says:

      Last place we lived, they were installing a covert system. A water pipe crossed at the same depth, so they cut the covert pipe, let the water pipe pass through and cemented the gap.

  10. alanttooth says:

    from where are you bruce? why don’t your subdivision will apply for DAVAO CITY WATER DISTRICT or the homeowners will reques for this problem? because last year we the homeowners request for this also now we can use our shower not the small pail one, hehehehe

  11. Tom Martin says:

    Bruce as you know I live in El Rio. There are certain times of the day, early morning and night, that the water pressure is low. Like you said you are washing your hair and the people next door flush or start taking a shower and the wather goes down. You stand their waiting for enough water to come out to rinse your hair and I do not have much hair left. Now if I take a shower during the middle of the day when the majority of the people are at work or at school I have no problem at all.

    • Bruce says:

      That was more so when we lived in Lanang. Here there has been only a few times the shower got weak, but there was always enough pressure for some water to come out. In Lanang, there was not enough pressure for the water to make it to the shower head.

  12. Henry says:

    Morning, Bruce! I woke up this day to shower and NO WATER! There’s no water to flush, either! I didn’t quite expect that, but it happens. My fingers are crossed for a quick return of said water before the kiddies wake up. 🙂

    BTW, I’ll try to give you a call today. Yes, I’m in Davao, but have to leave first thing tomorrow.


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