By Madelaine B. Miraflor
The controversial Kaliwa Dam project has already been signed by President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping, but a Japanese firm still thinks its old proposal for a new water source for Metro Manila is what this administration should push for.
With all the brouhaha surrounding the water supply situation in Metro Manila right now, the Osaka-based Global Utility Development Corporation Ltd. (GUDC) decided to revive its proposal to build the US$410-million Kaliwa Intake Weir project in Rizal province under a 25-year Build, Operate, Transfer (BOT) scheme.
GUDC President Toshikazu Nomura said the Kaliwa Intake Weir project will be a “cheaper” and “more environment friendly” alternative to the US$800-million Kaliwa Dam project.
To be largely funded by the Chinese government, the Kaliwa Dam — which will supply additional 600 million liters daily (mld) by 2023 to Metro Manila, Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan — has already been signed in November or about a year since the Duterte Administration ordered the financing shift of the project from Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to Official Development Assistance (ODA).
The Kaliwa Dam project, which was first packaged as one big project under the New Centennial Water Source Project (NCWSP), is located within two municipalities in Quezon province.
NCWSP is supposedly an integrated dam system project consisting of Kaliwa Dam and Laiban Dam, but the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) eventually decided to shelve the Laiban Dam project.
When it was still a PPP project, some companies like San Miguel Corp. and Megawide Construction Corp. have expressed interest to take on the NCWSP.
GUDC’s Kaliwa Intake Weir project proposal, on the other hand, goes way back in 2009. On that year, a memorandum of understanding was forged between GUDC and MWSS for the development of the project, which will have a capacity of 550 mld.
“Our proposal was first presented to the Government in 2009 to address the need for water in Metro Manila and it holds true today, more than ever,” Nomura said in an interview with reporters on Monday.
In 2017, GUDC has submitted the project proposal again on the request of the MWSS Board. Right now, the company also has a pending appeal filed in the Office of the President regarding the project.
“We are supportive of President Duterte’s vision for Kaliwa Dam. We are ready, and we are committed to delivering this project within the soonest possible time should it be reconsidered,” said Nomura.
The GUDC Kaliwa Intake Weir Dam Site project is located beside the NCWSP. Nomura said that for the development of Water Tunnel Route alone, the NCWSP already requires excessive advance investment for additional 1,800 MLD to supply 600 MLD.
As for water treatment plant, GUDC is proposing the development of only one plant with a capacity of 550 MLD, while NCWSP requires the development of two plants to be shouldered by the concessionaires.
Supposed the project can start in July, Nomura said the GUDC proposal will need only 36 months to be built. Thus, it should be up by June 2022.
NCWSP, on the other hand, needs 54 months of construction, which means it should be up by June 2024.
GUDC has been doing construction and engineering projects in the Philippines over the past decade. It is currently building the 300-megawatt Calaca-2 coal-fired power plant in Batangas, and the National Network of 500-KV transmission line from Naga to Lucena-Kalayaan-San Jose.