Kaliwa Dam gets crucial ECC

Published October 24, 2019, 2:05 PM

by CJ Juntereal

By Ellalyn de Vera-Ruiz and Mario Casayuran

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has granted the crucial environmental compliance certificate (ECC) for the implementation of the Kaliwa Dam project in Rizal and Quezon provinces.


Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said the DENR, through its Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), will strictly monitor the compliance of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) with the conditions stipulated in the ECC.

The EMB issued the ECC for the Kaliwa Dam project after it satisfied the requirements of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) System under Presidential Decree (PD 1586) and its implementing rules and regulations.

With the ECC issuance, Cimatu said the MWSS is expected to “implement the measures presented in the EIS intended to protect and mitigate the project’s adverse impacts on community health, welfare and the environment.”

He reminded MWSS to ensure that appropriate environmental and social safeguards are met in the implementation of the Kaliwa Dam project.

“Environmental considerations shall be incorporated in all phases and aspects of the project,” Cimatu said.

“We expect the MWSS, as project proponent, to ensure that all activities related to the project are environmentally and socially sound and sustainable,” he added.

The former Army general warned that “any serious violation or non-compliance with the conditions will result in the cancellation of the ECC.”

The ECC granted to MWSS covers the construction and operation of a gravity dam along Kaliwa River located in the towns of Teresa and Tanay in Rizal province, and General Nakar and Infanta in Quezon province.

The dam will be 60 meters tall with a riverbed elevation of 100 meters. Its reservoir surface area will cover some 291 hectares, with a full supply level volume of 57 million cubic meters.

Kaliwa Dam is meant to be an additional raw water source that will augment the supply from Angat Dam, which supplies about 96 percent of Metro Manila’s water requirement.

Its implementation has been met with criticisms due to its purported adverse social and environmental impacts, especially to the indigenous peoples living in the area.

Water interruption

As this developed, some 15 million consumers in Metro Manila and nearby provinces are expected to be affected by the daily rotational service interruptions scheduled by Maynilad and Manila Water, prompting Senator Imee Marcos to assail the two water concessionaires.

Marcos, a neophyte lawmaker, noted that the daily rotational service interruptions will reach up to 18 hours a day, beginning October 24, 2019.

The lady senator said Maynilad and Manila Water should have prepared for this water crisis, especially since the poor would be the most affected.

“Kawawa naman ang mga mahihirap na pamilya at ang mga maliliit na negosyo, gaya ng karinderya, car wash, at laundry shops na gumagamit ng tubig sa araw-araw (Pitiful are the poor families and those with small businesses such as eateries, car wash, and laundry shops that use water every day),” Marcos said.

Marcos noted that this was the second time this year that water consumers in Metro Manila and nearby provinces experienced water shortages during the dry season.

“Didn’t President Duterte warn that he would terminate the water concession agreements of these two firms last March because of their shortcomings? They knew of water supply shortages but why should the consumers bear the brunt of such an irresponsible act?” Marcos pointed out.

Marcos said the Senate might just have a look at the concession agreements of the two corporations that allowed them to operate for a number of years.

These concession agreements spelled out the provisions to implement their contracts in order for them to recover their investments.

Affected by the scheduled water supply interruptions are the 15 million consumers in the cities of Manila, Mandaluyong Marikina, Navotas, Muntinlupa, Malabon, Makati, Las Piñas, Caloocan, Valenzuela, Parañaque, Pasay, and Quezon City.

The provinces of Rizal, Cavite, and Meycauayan in Bulacan are likewise affected.

Maynilad blamed the continued decrease in the water levels of Angat and Ipo dams due to lack of rain as reason for the 18-hour water supply interruptions.

Manila Water, on the other hand, stated that its water allocation from the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) has remained at 40 cubic meters per second (cms), which is below the normal 48 cms.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomic Administration (PAGASA) said the usual 187.53-meter water level of Angat Dam has gone down to 180 meters.

At the Ipo Dam, its maintaining level of 101 meters has decreased a bit to 100.76 meters.