Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) administrator Reynaldo Velasco said Manila Water is set to sign an initial agreement with the Razon-Oscar Violago tandem to proceed with the new Montalban Dam or much improved Wawa Dam as a medium-term water source.
Manila Water taps Razon for new Rizal dam project
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - March 19, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Ayala-led Manila Water Co. Inc. and Enrique Razon Jr. of International Container Terminal Services Inc. are moving toward the construction of an 80-meter dam in Montalban in Rizal province to ensure sufficient water supply in the east zone area.

Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) administrator Reynaldo Velasco said Manila Water is set to sign an initial agreement with the Razon-Oscar Violago tandem to proceed with the new Montalban Dam or much improved Wawa Dam as a medium-term water source.

“It’s okay already. I think by Wednesday or Thursday they will be signing an initial memorandum of understanding to proceed with the project,” Velasco said yesterday.

Manila Water clarified that the agreement to be signed involves the creation of a technical working group (TWG) that will undertake a feasibility study.

“The final signing will still take time as it will go through the MWSS and the MWSS-Regulatory Office,” Manila Water chief executive officer Ferdinand dela Cruz told The STAR.

“This will sort of kick off the technical side to define the parameters then we can exchange more information because there are still lots of information that are lacking,” he added.

Also part of the ongoing negotiations is for Razon and Violago to withdraw the legal case on contesting water rights.

The 80 million liters per day dam is needed for Manila Water to solve one to two years of possible water supply deficit.

It was in 2010 when Violago accused Manila Water, 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 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 released in favor of Manila Water.

Meanwhile, the Wawa Dam feasibility study is also expected to be completed by the first quarter.

With the new proposal for the Wawa Dam which has a capacity of 500 MLD, Manila Water needs 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 just for reserves.

Meanwhile, the government  has thumbed down Japanese firm Global Utility Development Corp.’s renewed offer to build a $410 million Kaliwa intake Weir project to help  address Metro Manila’s supply problem.

In denying GUDC’s proposal, MWSS administrator Reynaldo Velasco cited the $800 million New Centennial Water Supply project which will be funded by China.

“We already awarded the contract. I don’t see any reason why it should be reversed. It’s a done deal,” Velasco said in a briefing yesterday.

“Do you think the President will reverse his position? No. It was already bidded out.  There are reasons why it was not approved in the technical level in the past. And I can only speak for this administration,” he added.

GUDC chief executive officer Toshikazu Nomura has been urging President Duterte to reconsider their project before proceeding with the construction of the project with China.

GUDC first presented the project in 2009 and even signed a memorandum of understanding with the MWSS but the plan had been shelved.

Velasco has no idea why the proposal was denied, saying if the project was good, it should have passed the scrutiny of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

The proposed Kaliwa Intake Weir was supposed to have a capacity of 550 million liters per day (MLD) and a seven-meter-high weir with a 16-kilometer-long tunnel with a diameter of 3.3 meters.

Under a build-operate-transfer scheme, the project will require no investments from the government nor require sovereign guarantees.  It also includes  the construction of a water treatment plant within the vicinity.

 

 

ENRIQUE RAZON JR. MANILA WATER CO. INC.
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