MWSS en­sures Wawa dam nod

We are in a catch-up mode as far as wa­ter sup­ply source is con­cerned

Daily Tribune (Philippines) - - FRONT PAGE - By Mario J. Mal­lari and Maria Romero

State reg­u­la­tor Metropoli­tan Water­works and Sew­er­age Sys­tem (MWSS) broke its si­lence over the de­layed Wawa Dam pro­ject as it guar­an­teed yes­ter­day an ap­proval amid the con­tin­u­ing wa­ter sup­ply short­age in Metro Manila.

No less than MWSS chair­man Rey­naldo Ve­lasco gave the as­sur­ance to Prime In­fra of ty­coon En­rique Ra­zon as he stressed that the Wawa Bulk Wa­ter Sup­ply Pro­ject re­mains a ma­jor flag­ship pro­ject of the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to Ve­lasco, the MWSS Board is set to tackle and ap­prove the Wawa Dam pro­ject as part of the govern­ment ef­forts to ad­dress wa­ter sup­ply short­age in Metro Manila, par­tic­u­larly in the eastern zone.

For his part, Ra­zon stressed Prime In­fra’s re­lent­less ef­forts to pur­sue the pro­ject since 2018 with­out any cost on the part of the govern­ment.

“We are ready to move for­ward and have been proac­tively work­ing with all stake­hold­ers, pub­lic and pri­vate, to progress this pro­ject since 2018,” said Ra­zon.

“Wawa is the fastest and least ex­pen­sive wa­ter source de­vel­op­ment and comes at no cost to the govern­ment,” he added.

The Wawa Dam pro­ject will sup­ply an ad­di­tional 80 mil­lion liters per day (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.

The WawaJVCO, MWSS and Manila Wa­ter Com­pany (MWC), which ser­vices the eastern zone, have al­ready signed an off­take agree­ment last 6 Au­gust.

“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 was quoted as say­ing in a press state­ment is­sued by the In­ter­na­tional Con­tainer Ter­mi­nal Ser­vices Inc. (ICTSI), also owned by Ra­zon.

“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.

Daily Tri­bune has been re­port­ing on the de­layed im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Wawa Dam pro­ject de­spite ef­forts by WawaJVCO, a joint ven­ture of Ra­zon’s Prime In­fra and Os­car Vi­o­lago’s San Lorenzo Ruiz Builders Group, the pro­ject pro­po­nent.

OGCC pos­i­tive

An­other pos­i­tive de­vel­op­ment was the MWSS on Thurs­day re­ceiv­ing a fa­vor­able opinion from the Of­fice of the Govern­ment Cor­po­rate Coun­sel on meet­ing the re­main­ing con­di­tions to make the pro­ject fully ef­fec­tive.

This leaves only one ma­jor is­sue for the full ef­fec­tive­ness of the pro­ject and to en­able the pro­po­nent to pro­ceed in the de­vel­op­ment work — the ap­proval of a sup­ple­men­tal agree­ment which was sub­mit­ted to the MWSS last 13 Septem­ber.

The sup­ple­men­tal agree­ment is nec­es­sary to ad­dress is­sues on penal­ties, ac­cess road re­spon­si­bil­ity and me­ter­ing pro­to­col.

Since the sign­ing of the agree­ment, pub­lic con­sul­ta­tions have been con­ducted by the MWSS Reg­u­la­tory Of­fice, which gave the pub­lic the op­por­tu­nity to learn about the pro­ject de­tails as well as the tar­iff im­pact.

How­ever, the chang­ing of of­fi­cials at the MWSS has con­trib­uted to the de­lay in the de­vel­op­ment work of the Wawa Dam pro­ject.

Cur­rently, both Manila Wa­ter and Mayni­lad Wa­ter Ser­vices Inc. are im­pos­ing wa­ter in­ter­rup­tion rang­ing from four to 18 hours as pre­vi­ously an­nounced due to the de­creas­ing wa­ter level at An­gat Dam.

MWSS should step up

Re­lat­edly, MWC head of Cor­po­rate Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Jeric Sevilla said even if they are ready to con­struct new wa­ter sources for a more sta­ble sup­ply, they “can only do so much” while wait­ing for the fi­nal ap­proval by MWSS.

“We are cur­rently im­ple­ment­ing mea­sures to cush­ion the short­age in (wa­ter) sup­ply. Un­less we have a new source, wa­ter in­ter­rup­tion could still be ex­pe­ri­enced un­til sum­mer of next year,” Sevilla told Daily Tri­bune.

Wawa is the fastest and least ex­pen­sive wa­ter source de­vel­op­ment and comes at no cost to the govern­ment.

He also noted that the wa­ter short­age could get worse if An­gat Dam does not reach its ideal level of 210 to 212 me­ters by end of 2019.

In a re­cent con­gres­sional hear­ing, two mem­bers of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives chided the MWSS for “fail­ure to en­sure un­in­ter­rupted and, ad­e­quate sup­ply and dis­tri­bu­tion of wa­ter as pro­vided by Repub­lic Act 62344.”

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