THE Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) expects to meet before Easter with the proponents of a project to tap Wawa Dam in Rizal to help clear legal hurdles for the potential water source.
“They will present to us on the 16th [of April] ’yung kanilang (their) technical working group product,” MWSS Administrator Reynaldo V. Velasco told reporters last week.
The presentation follows the signing in March of a memorandum of understanding between the Ayala Group’s Manila Water Co., Inc. and Enrique K. Razon Jr.’s Prime Metroline Infrastructure Holdings, Inc. (Prime Infra) to form a technical team that will conduct due diligence on the 500-million-liters-per-day (MLD) Wawa bulk water project.
Mr. Velasco said the proponents will then be asked to present the project to the MWSS board, whose approval will clear the plan’s submission to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for approval.
The Wawa project is among the MWSS medium-term water sources for completion in 2025. A component of the project, the 80-MLD Calawis-Wawa Dam being undertaken by Manila Water, is targeted to be finished by 2021.
In 2017, Mr. Razon proposed to invest and assume the controlling stake in the project through an 82% share ownership once he was convinced of its legal, commercial and financial viability.
In turn, the Violago group, the original proponent, will contribute the Wawa water permit, application for water volume increase, and the water project in exchange for an 18% stake in it. The antitrust regulator cleared the partnership on Dec. 19, 2017.
Manila Water became the possible third partner in the project, which the groups describe as strategically located to serve the expansion areas of the east zone concessionaire.
The partners plan to develop a water supply facility at the Wawa catchment area traversing the municipality of Rodriguez and the city of Antipolo, both in the province of Rizal.
“I talked to Mr. Razon himself. I made it very clear (to him), ‘you cannot get that one (removed), no deal,’” Mr. Velasco said, referring to a restraining order sought by the Violagos and issued by the Court of Appeals that blocked the Calawis-Wawa Dam project.
“If you cannot get Violago to remove that case, it’s not really a case, restraining order lang (only), [then no deal],” he said.
“By [April] 16thdapat tanggal na ’yan (the restraining order must be removed),” he said.
The crucial meeting comes as the agency is hard-pressed to come up with new water sources to meet Metro Manila’s rising demand.
Mr. Velasco has yet to add Wawa Dam to his short-term projects, which are those classified as capable of “being fast-tracked, doable and implementable.”
These projects are the 150 million liters per day (MLD) Putatan 2 water treatment plant, which is set for launching on Monday; the 100-MLD Cardona water treatment plant, which is to be fully completed this year; the 188-MLD Sumag River diversion project, due by 2020; the 50-MLD Rizal wellfield by 2020; the 80-MLD Calawis-Wawa Dam by 2021; the 100-MLD Putatan 3 by 2022; the 250-MLD lower Ipo Dam by 2023; and the 600-MLD Kaliwa Dam, also by 2023.
“Let me emphasize that it is only under the Duterte administration that has put premium on the need to construct new water supply sources starting with the 600 MLD Kaliwa Dam since Angat was last built in 1967 that continue to supply 4,000 MLD of water to Metro Manila and adjoining provinces,” Mr. Velasco said.
He said the present MWSS Board of Trustees and management has been working to ensure water security during the Duterte administration by providing at least 1,518 MLD by 2022.
For the medium-term water source projects, or the period from 2023 to 2027, Mr. Velasco enumerated the following: the 420-MLD Wawa Dam; the 250-MLD Laguna east bay water treatment plant; the 350-MLD Bayabas Dam; the 550-MLD Angat-Norzagaray phase 2; the 750-MLD Sierra Madre project; and the 1,800-MLD Kanan River phase 1 project. — Victor V. Saulon