MWSS wants Razon, Violago to drop Wawa dam case
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - December 27, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) is calling on the group of tycoon Enrique Razon Jr. and Oscar Violago to withdraw a legal case to ensure that a plan to construct a new dam in Montalban will proceed as planned.

MWSS administrator Reynaldo Velasco said the plan to proceed with the new Montalban dam or much improved Wawa dam as a medium-term water source proposed by the two businessmen would hinge on their withdrawal of the case they filed against the agency.

“The Wawa dam has been a project even before, but they are fighting over water rights. Violago used to own the franchise and filed a case before the Court of Appeals that’s why we can’t proceed,” said MWSS administrator Reynaldo Velasco.

“I told him (Razon) that if they don’t release the 80 million liters per day (MLD) of water that Manila Water needs and they don’t withdraw the case, the project is a no go,” Velasco said.

Razon is the chairman of the International Container Terminal Services Inc., while Oscar Violago heads the San Lorenzo Ruiz Water Development Corp.

It was in 2010 when Violago accused Ayala-led Manila Water Co. Inc., the National Water Resources Board and the MWSS of blocking his company’s bid to develop the Wawa dam project.

Violago claimed that while they had the water rights after their application in 1993, Manila Water managed to get a permit allowing them to make advanced collections from water consumers in 2003.

Earlier reports even claimed that while Violago has been proposing for the development of the project more than 20 years ago, MWSS actually wanted to give the rights to develop Wawa to Manila Water.

In 2008, SLRB already submitted a full feasibility study for the 80 MLD, which the MWSS now wants to be released in favor of Manila Water.

Since MWSS owns the facility and the land rights, it wants the Razon-Violago tandem and franchisee to release 80 MLD to be utilized by Ayala-led Manila Water.

“Wawa is to be finished in the next three to five years. I need the 80 MLD to be released because Manila Water can do it in one year. We will not allow it if they don’t withdraw, it should be a give and take,” Velasco said.

The Wawa dam feasibility study is expected to be finished by the first quarter of 2019.

A few months ago, MWSS shelved Manila Water’s proposed Laguna Lake project because it was deemed “expensive.”

With the new proposal for the Wawa dam, which has a capacity of 500 MLD, Manila Water has to buy the raw water.

Manila Water is already breaching the supply allocated for them amid increasing demand of about 1,640 MLD. It is even utilizing supply from the La Mesa dam which is supposed to be for reserves.

MWSS continues to undertake new projects that can produce three million liters of water in the next five years including the 600 MLD Kaliwa dam, the 500 MLD Montalban dam and the 1,950 MLD “ABC” projects as alternative sources of water.

With the ABC projects, MWSS hopes to take advantage of the untapped and water wastage from Angat, revive the Bayabas dam project, and push for the Candaba multi-purpose impounding dam project.

The projects have a potential of producing 1.95 MLD, which will largely complement the existing capacity of the Angat dam, the main source of Metro Manila’s water supply.

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