By James A. Loyola
The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) has assured Prime Infra Chairman Enrique K. Razon Jr. that the Wawa Bulk Water Supply Project will be given final approval as it is a major flagship project of the government’s water security program.
The assurance was given by MWSS Chairman Reynaldo V. Velasco who disclosed that the MWSS Board will tackle and approve the Wawa Dam project to help address the water supply deficit in the Eastern Zone under Manila Water.
“The WAWA Dam is an integral part of the overall short-, medium- and long-term water flagship projects of MWSS to ensure water security,” Velasco said.
Prior to his promotion as chairman, Velasco was the MWSS administrator when the issues and concerns relative to the Wawa Bulk Water Supply Project were presented, addressed and approved.
“We are in a catch-up mode as far as water supply source is concerned. Wawa Dam, which used to be the water source for Metro Manila before Angat Dam was completed on 1967 and became operational, has been identified by water experts as the best potential water supply source for Metro Manila,” Velasco added.
Project proponent WawaJVCO, a joint venture of Prime Infra and Oscar Violago’s San Lorenzo Ruiz Builders Group, MWSS and Manila Water Company already signed an offtake agreement last August 6, 2019.
Since the signing of the agreement, public consultations have been conducted by the MWSS Regulatory Office. These public consultations gave the public the opportunity to learn about the project details as well as the tariff impact.
However, the changing of the guards in the MWSS administration has also contributed to the delay in the development work of the Wawa Dam project.
To finally jumpstart the Wawa project, final approvals remain on the supplemental agreement, which was submitted last September 13, 2019 for MWSS’ approval.
It is a necessary document for the agreement on the outstanding issues on penalties, access road responsibility and metering protocol.
It is the remaining document to make the project fully effective and enable the project proponent to proceed in the development work.
The MWSS has received the favorable opinion from the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel on the remaining conditions precedent to make the project fully effective.
The Wawa Dam Project will supply an additional 80 MLD in 2021 and over 500 MLD in 2025.
“We are ready to move forward and have been proactively working with all stakeholders, public and private, to progress this project since 2018. Wawa is the fastest and least expensive water source development and comes at no cost to the government,” said Razon.