Kaliwa Dam project to be completed by 2026, MWSS says

The P12.2-billion New Centennial Water Source Kaliwa Dam Project will be completed by mid-2026, and will be able to supply water to Metro Manila households and nearby areas by early 2027, the Metropolitan Water Sewerage System (MWSS) said.

In a forum on Wednesday, Feb. 1, MWSS Administrator Leonor Cleofas said China Energy Engineering Corporation (CEEC), which is undertaking the project, has reported the overall project accomplishment at 21 percent.

“There are two major components of the project, which are the tunneling and the construction of the dam. It has started with tunneling and it will be complete by the middle of 2026. At the same time, if the validation of the settlement of 46 families is accomplished, the dam will also begin and MWSS is endeavoring to complete the dam by 2026,” Cleofas said.

The Kaliwa Dam project is a 63-meter-high reservoir that will hold an initial discharge capacity of 600 million liters per day, intended to supply Metro Manila, as well as nearby areas that only depend on two dams in Bulacan.

A Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) is being used for the 28-kilometer-long conveyance tunnel that will stretch from Teresa Rizal to General Nakar, Quezon Province. It will pass through Barangay Magsaysay in Infanta, Quezon as well as several barangays in Baras, Morong, Tanay, and Teresa towns in Rizal. At its deepest, the TBM will be 500 meters below the Sierra Madre Mountains.

The excavation at the tunnel outlet in Teresa started on Dec. 7 last year.

MWSS said the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) already issued a Certification Precondition.

In September last year, MWSS got the approval of the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources-Protected Area Management Board (DENR-PAMB) for clearances as pre-requisite for a Special-Use Agreement on Protected Areas.

The construction of the dam was put on hold last year due to the protest of the indigenous peoples (IPs) in the area, particularly the Dumagat-Remontado communities in Rizal and Quezon provinces, who asserted that the dam will be encroaching on their ancestral land.

The project will also be passing through three watershed areas.

MWSS said that it has forged mutually beneficial agreements with IPs, local government units, and the DENR to meet all explicit conditions under the environmental compliance certificate, laying a groundwork for enduring relationships with the communities.

A comprehensive and inclusive socio-economic development plant was developed to ensure that those who are going to be affected by the project can participate and contribute to the development of their communities.

The agency added that the ground-breaking agreements on the protection of ancestral domain and tribal sovereignty are a clear testament of their commitment in advancing Dumagat-Remontado’s socio-economic and cultural rights.

And to address worries about possible floods that could be caused by the dam's construction, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Assistant Secretary for Regional Operations in the National Capital Region Antonio V. Molano, Jr. said P380 million have been allocated for flood control projects in Infanta and General Nakar in Quezon. He added that the dredging at Agos River was also currently being undertaken.

The Kaliwa Dam, under the cooperation framework between China and Philippines, as a solution to the water supply problem of over 15 million residents in NCR.