PROPONENTS of the Wawa Bulk Water Supply Project, a joint venture between Prime Infra led by Enrique Razon and San Lorenzo Ruiz Builders Group (SLRB) led by Oscar Violago, are confident that the project will address Metro Manila’s perennial water-supply shortage within two years or before President Duterte steps down from office.
This developed as the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) announced the approval of the project that will assure Metro Manila of an initial 80 million liters per day (MLD) of water.
Around 20 million water consumers in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, including some parts of Bulacan, Rizal and Cavite, are dependent on the raw supply coming from Angat, with a total 4,000 MLD divided between Maynilad Water Services (2,400 MLD) and Manila Water (1,600 MLD). This accounts for around 96 percent of the total water supply for Metro Manila including service areas in nearby provinces.
MWSS Chairman Franklin J. Demonteverde and MWSS Administrator Reynaldo V. Velasco announced the agency’s approval of the joint venture on May 23. The approval was made in two separate board meetings on May 9 and May 22. The MWSS and the Office of the Government Corporate Council are finalizing the remaining issues on the project.
In a statement, Razon vowed to step up the project’s completion to make sure adequate water supply will be available by 2021 for the East Zone, the area serviced by Manila Water.
“We thank the decisive leadership of MWSS for the approval of the project, and assure them of our commitment to helping in solving the current water crisis,” said Razon, chairman of Prime Infra.
The proponents of the project will tap water from the Wawa Dam in Rizal province to add supply to Manila Water’s concession areas.
Up to 500 MLD are expected to be added to the supply by 2025. It will raise Manila Water’s supply by 30 percent. Wawa Dam was the primary water source of Metro Manila before Angat Dam was built.
The Razon-led venture is prepared to invest up to P20 billion for the project to ensure water-supply security over the medium and long terms.
“Our project is one of the fastest and most sustainable ways to solve this current water crisis. If we don’t act now, this will be a recurring problem,” Razon said.
SLRB President and CEO, Anthony Jude C. Violago, thanked the MWSS, Manila Water and Razon for hammering out a “win-win formula” for the much-delayed project.
The project had been in the works for 20 years, including two years of joint development work between Razon and Violago.
“After 20 years, my father’s vision will finally come to fruition. Water will now flow to Metro Manila residents, solving the current water problems,” he said.
“We look forward to finalizing the remaining issues on the on-going review of the OGCC and the MWSS-Regulatory Office to accelerate project execution, considering the criticality of delivering the much-needed water supply in the east zone,” said Guillaume Lucci, Prime Infra president and COO.
Velasco played a crucial role in convincing the proponents of the project to work together, its being part of the short-term and medium-term solutions of the MWSS under his watch to the perennial water supply problem being experienced by over 12 million residents of Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
In a statement released by the MWSS on May 24, Velasco said the Wawa Bulk Water Supply Project is among the priority initiatives committed to President Rodrigo Duterte in addressing the current water supply shortage which government resources cannot afford.
“This is the reason why a private sector-led development of the bulk supply of water was sought,” Velasco said.
He added the tariff impact of the Wawa bulk water supply project is expected to be very minimal since the total systems cost of the project will be cost-effective compared to other water source options because of the strategic location of the water supply source within the east zone concession.
Velasco had said investors are coming into a partnership with the MWSS to ensure adequate water supply for Metro Manila and other areas.
“As a key member of the MWSS Water Sources Development Technical Working Group (TWG), Manila Water will lend its technical and non-technical expertise in giving all the projects their best shot and in ensuring alignment of the proposals to the Approved Service Improvement Plan objectives of MWSS,” he said.
Aside from Wawa Dam, the priority water sources projects identified as doable and implementable during Duterte’s administration also include 150 MLD Putatan; 100 MLD Cardona; 188 MLD Sumag River Diversion Program; 80 MLD Kalawis; 50 MLD Rizal Wellfield; 250 MLD Lower Ipo-Unutilized water from Angat-Norzagaray Phase 1; 100 MLD Poblacion Muntinlupa Water Treatment Plant 4-Laguna Lake; and, 600 MLD Kaliwa Dam-Quezon Province.
The MWSS has identified water source projects beyond Duterte’s term. These are the 550 MLD Lower Ipo Unutilized water from Angat-Norzagaray Phase 2; 420 MLD Wawa Dam; 750 MLD; Sierra Madre; 350 MLD Bayabas Dam; 1,800 Kanan River Phase 1; and 250 MLD East Bay Laguna Lake. Also being considered are 2000 MLD Kanan River Phase 2, and 6000 MLD Laguna Lake.