By Madelaine B. Miraflor
The construction of the P19-billion Kaliwa Dam project is expected to be in full swing by November after a signing ceremony between Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Rodrigo Duterte for the project is held here.
A statement showed that after years of delay, the Kaliwa Dam project, a long-term water source project, has already been awarded to a Chinese contractor called China Energy under the Official Development Assistance (ODA) scheme.
Part of the New Centennial Water Source Project (NCWSP), Kaliwa Dam is located within two municipalities in Quezon province and would have a capacity of 600 million liters a day (mld).
It was in March last year when the government ordered the shift in financing for the NCWSP.
Instead of Public-Private Partnership (PPP), the project will now be funded through ODA and since the fund is coming from the Chinese government, the Philippine government had to choose a Chinese contractor — among all the names submitted by the People’s Republic of China — to implement the project.
Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Administrator Reynaldo Velasco said the contract signing between the agency and China Energy for the development of Kaliwa Dam will be witnessed by no less than Xi Jinping when he visits the country in mid-November.
After that, the construction will already be in full swing.
Velasco is particularly proud of this development since “no new surface water source has been developed for over 34 years until now”.
The project, which involves the design and construction of a 60-meters high dam and a 27.70 kilometers raw water conveyance tunnel, will take more than five years to build.
On an unrelated development, MWSS assured that despite fears of water shortage, Metro Manila, home to more than 12 million people, and nearby provinces will not run out of water over the next five years and even until 2037.
Velasco said that for at least until 2037, the agency already laid out plans to secure the water supply for the country’s capital.
This, even if the country already falls below the international “water stress” threshold of 1,700 m3 per year and is fast approaching the “water scarcity” threshold of 1,000 m3 per year.
Right now, MWSS has already identified other projects that could be undertaken within President Rodrigo Duterte’s term.
Potential medium-term water sources are the Laguna Lake (900 mld), Sumag River (188 mld), Tayabasan River (175 mld) and Wawa River (500 mld).
The Wawa Dam project has been proposed by businessman Oscar Violago and port magnate Enrique Razon and involves the construction of an 82-meter dam in Montalban in the province of Rizal. This could produce 500 mld to augment water coming from Angat Dam.
The project would be undertaken under a Joint Venture Agreement or PPP but would still be subject to Swiss Challenge.
Aside from this, MWSS is also proposing the development of the A-B-C projects as alternative sources of water with a combined capacity to 1,950 mld.