By Madelaine B. Miraflor
The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) has already approved the Wawa Bulk Water Supply Project proposal, which will be built solely by the company of port magnate Enrique Razon and businessman Oscar Violago.
The project, which is a private off take arrangement between WawaJVCO and Manila Water Company, Inc., is expected to provide at least 80 million litres per day (MLD) to the East Zone concession starting year 2021 and up to 500 MLD by year 2025.
WawaJVCO is the joint venture company of Razon’s Prime Infra and Violago’s San Lorenzo Ruiz Builders and Developers Group (SLRBD).
After securing the approval of MWSS Board of Trustees, the Wawa Bulk Supply Project is now being reviewed by the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) and the MWSS-Regulatory Office.
The Wawa Bulk Water Supply Project approval comes with the resolution of the long-standing legal issues between the MWSS and Violago, which has prevented for over 10 years the implementation of the bulk water supply project.
Violago, who is involved in the construction of hydropower plants, began proposing to convert Wawa Watershed in Montalban, Rizal into a dam in the early 1990s. In 1993, he claimed he obtained the water rights to develop the Wawa Dam Project but MWSS and the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) still won’t allow him to push through with it.
He even claimed that Manila Water “wants to grab” the project from him.
On Friday, MWSS Administrator Reynaldo Velasco said that the 500 MLD volume of water from the Wawa Bulk Supply Project will boost Manila Water’s current water production by about 30 percent and is considered the largest water supply project that will be implemented under the Duterte Administration.
He said that the tariff impact is expected to be very minimal considering the total systems cost of the treated water is cost-effective compared to other water source options as well the strategic location of the water supply source within the east zone concession.
The tapping of Wawa Dam as water source is not new. It was the first source of potable water for the metropolitan area before Angat Dam became Metro Manila’s primary source for water.