Government no longer keen on Laiban Dam

The Duterte administration will no longer push for the construction of the Laiban Dam in Tanay, Rizal, which is expected to displace thousands of residents in the area.

Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Administrator Reynaldo Velasco said the construction of Laiban will displace some 4,800 families. In contrast, Velasco said the construction of Kaliwa Dam will displace only 46 families.

“Laiban is out insofar as this administration is concerned because of the social engineering nightmare that we’ll encounter in resettling 4,800 families. Almost impossible. That is why we have removed it from our midterm program,” Velasco said.

In 2010, MWSS terminated its joint venture talks with San Miguel for the proposed development of Laiban Dam.

The long-proposed Laiban Dam was only revived in 2017 through the proposed New Centennial Water Source Project, which also involves the construction of Kaliwa Dam to downstream to maximize water supply and to ensure short- and long-term supply for Metro Manila and its adjoining areas.

Aside from the Kaliwa Dam, which has a capacity of 600 million liters per day (MLD), Velasco said the MWSS is now more keen on putting up Kanan Dam, which has a bigger capacity of 3,000 MLD compared to Laiban’s 1,800 MLD.

Velasco reiterated that Manila Water will also sign a joint venture agreement with ports tycoon Enrique K. Razon Jr. for the construction of a new dam, saying this will have a capacity of 500 MLD.

Besides Razon, Velasco said the joint venture will include San Lorenzo Ruiz Water Development Corp. of businessman Oscar Violago.

He said MWSS is now looking at other possible sources of water: the 500-MLD rehabilitation of Wawa Dam; 800-MLD unutilized water project from Angat-Norzagaray; 350-MLD Bayabas Dam; and the 188-MLD Sumag River Diversion Project.

Velasco disclosed plans to build tunnels and aqueducts from Ipo Dam to Bigte Norzagaray and from Bigte to La Mesa Dam.

Velasco also belied reports that the Chinese-funded Kaliwa Dam is more expensive than the Kaliwa Intake Weir Project proposed by a Japanese firm.

Osaka-based Global Utility Development Corporation Ltd. (GUDC) President Toshikazu Nomura earlier said their Kaliwa Intake Weir Project will be a “cheaper” and “more environment-friendly” alternative to the $800-million Kaliwa Dam project.

Velasco said the Kaliwa Dam only costs around $240 million as opposed to the Kaliwa Intake Weir Project, which costs $410 million.

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