By CHINO S. LEYCO
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a $126-million loan to the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) to partly fund the rehabilitation of a water system supplying Metro Manila.
In a statement, the Manila-based financial institution said yesterday that it approved a loan to MWSS for the construction of a 15-kilometer water transmission pipeline under the Angat water transmission improvement project.
As part of the rehabilitate the Umiray–Angat–Ipo dam system, which supplies about 90 percent of Metro Manila’s water, the project, once completed, will strengthen the water system’s downstream transmission capacity.
It will also help ensure water supply for Metro Manila’s nearly 13 million residents, the bank added.
MWSS, a government owned and controlled corporation, owns and operates Metro Manila’s bulk water system, from which two private concessionaries—Manila Water and Maynilad—source, treat, and distribute water to customers.
“Climate change is making annual rainfall unpredictable, putting tremendous pressure on water resource use,” Vijay Padmanabhan, director of Urban Development and Water Division of ADB’s Southeast Asia Department said.
“The Philippine government is increasing investments in clean infrastructure for environmentally sustainable water resource management across the country. Through this project, ADB is helping the Philippines secure Metro Manila’s water supply,” he added.
The new aqueduct, with a 3.6-meter diameter, will have a welded steel concrete-coated pipe and can withstand magnitude 7.2 earthquakes. It reduces the risk of a system breakdown and increase the resiliency of Metro Manila’s water supply.
The aqueduct will also increase the system’s water transfer capacity to 66 cubic meters per second by 2025, up from 50 cubic meters per second in 2019. It will allow MWSS to retire its two oldest aqueducts and repair others through 2032.
In addition, the project will further enhance MWSS’s capacity to operate and maintain the system’s water tunnels and aqueducts and raise public awareness of water conservation.
The project is part of the government’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure development program. Once construction starts this year, it is expected to provide a stimulus to domestic material suppliers and boost demand for construction jobs.
The loan supplements ongoing ADB financing to MWSS, approved in 2016 to fund the construction of a 6.3-km modern, earthquake-resilient upstream water tunnel.
The tunnel is expected to be completed in June, three months ahead of schedule.