Real estate developer asks consent from MWSS to develop Wawa Dam

- Mike Frialde () - July 22, 2010 - 5:15pm

MANILA, Philippines -- A real estate development firm is again asking the Metropolitan Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) to grant it full permission to rehabilitate the Wawa Dam in Rodriguez (formerly Montalban), Rizal as an alternative water source for Metro Manila.

Speaking to reporters at a conference, San Lorenzo Ruiz Builders and Developers (SLRB) President Oscar Violago said that although his company still holds the water rights over the entire Wawa River System which was granted in 1993 by the National Water Resources Board (NWRB), it cannot push through with the development of the Wawa Dam as it still lacks the full water permit from the NWRB that will allow it to draw from the dam the desired volume of 1,500 million liters per day (MLD).

Violago added that his company also needs the purchase order from the MWSS to cover for the water it intends to supply to the MWSS for distribution.

Anthony Violago, the company’s vice president and Oscar’s son said they can sell water sourced from the Wawa Dam to the MWSS at P16 per cubic meter, which he said is already the lowest price.

According to the SLRB, once allowed to revive the Wawa Dam as a source of water for Metro Manila, the dam could produce 80 MLD of water in just 8 months of operation; 900 MLD in 2 years and 1,500 MLD in 4 years.

Oscar Violago said his company could revive the Wawa Dam in the same manner that it had managed to revive and develop the Casecnan Dam in Nueva Ecija at a cost of $687 million.

“We need the MWSS and the NWRB to cooperate with us at no cost to them. To develop Wawa Dam like what we did for the Casecnan Dam,” said Violago.

According to the SLRB, the cost of reviving the Wawa Dam could reach as much as $600 million. The cost of the project will be shouldered by local investors and their European counterparts. SLRB officials declined to identify who are the project's investors.

The elder Violago added that had they been given the chance to develop the Wawa Dam, the current water crisis now gripping Metro Manila could have been averted as the dam could have produced 1,500 MLD. He said at that present, the volume of water in Angat Dam in Bulacan, which serves as the main source of water for Metro Manila has already dropped to 1,100 MLD.

“This means that we could still give the 400 MLD produced to farmers in Bulacan whose water supply are always affected during the dry season,” he said.

The Wawa Dam supplied water to Metro Manila from 1908 to 1968 when the MWSS abandoned it as a source of water in favor of the larger Angat Dam which came into operation in 1968.

Meanwhile, Violago also brushed aside reports coming from the MWSS that the water sourced from the Wawa Dam is polluted and unfit for human consumption.

He presented to reporters a concept paper by the MWSS Special Projects dated April 15, 2001 as proof of his argument.

The concept paper  states that although big piggeries, highly-urbanized communities and the San Mateo sanitary landfill in the headwaters of the Boso-Boso River causes heavy pollution on the raw water supply source for domestic use, especially on the presence of lead and organic domestic waste, the Boso-Boso River comprises only 40 percent of the Marikina River basin.

The concept paper also states that the remaining 60 percent which encompasses the Montalban-Tayabasan watershed provides good quality raw water similar to the Angat-Umiray source. 

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