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Enrique K. Razon, Jr. (Photo from ICTSI)

MWSS approves Razon’s Wawa bulk water supply project

At least 80 million litres per day (MLD) will be made available to East Zone concessionaire Manila Water Company (MWC) starting year 2021 and over 500 MLD by year 2025.

This was jointly announced by MWSS Chairman Franklin J. Demonteverde and MWSS Administrator Reynaldo V. Velasco following the approval of the MWSS Board of Trustees of the Wawa Bulk Water Supply Project of Prime Infra – the infrastructure company led by business tycoon Enrique Razon, and Ayala-led MWC during its board meetings last May 9 and 22, 2019.

The Wawa Bulk Water Supply Project approval comes with the resolution of the long-standing legal issues between the MWSS and Prime Infra’s joint venture partner, businessman Oscar Violago’s San Lorenzo Ruiz Builders Group (SLRB), that has prevented for over 10 years the implementation of the bulk water supply project.

The project, which is a private off take arrangement between MWC and WawaJVCO, the joint venture company of Prime Infra and SLRB, culminates over 20 years of development work by SLRB and Prime Infra.

The terms of the agreement is currently being reviewed by the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) and the MWSS-Regulatory Office.

The tapping of Wawa Dam as water source is not new. It was the first source of potable water for the metropolitan area before Angat Dam became the primary source that supplies 96 percent of water to Metro Manila and adjoining provinces such as Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan.

MWSS Administrator Reynaldo Velasco says that the 500 MLD volume of water from the Wawa Bulk Supply Project will boost MWC’s current water production by about 30% and is considered the largest water supply project that will be implemented under the Duterte Administration.

He said that the tariff impact is expected to be very minimal considering the total systems cost of the treated water is cost-effective compared to other water source options as well the strategic location of the water supply source within the east zone concession.

He lauded the timely partnership of MWC and Prime Infra’s WawaJVCO as it provides a clear path towards water supply development.

Velasco emphasized that the cornerstone of his stewardship under the Duterte administration is water security, of which the Wawa bulk Water Supply Project is an integral part of the drawn up short and medium water supply projects.

“It is among the priority initiatives committed to President Rodrigo Duterte in addressing the current water supply deficit which government resources cannot afford, and this is the reason why a private sector-led development of bulk supply of water was sought,” said Velasco.

In a statement, Manila Water President and CEO Ferdinand M. dela Cruz said: “Manila Water supports the efforts of MWSS to realize its Water Security Roadmap to fulfill its mandate on new water sources development. Many proponents are coming forward which will allow MWSS to urgently select the best combination of projects for Metro Manila consumers.”

De la Cruz added: “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.”

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; 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.

Beyond Duterte’s term, MWSS has identified the following water source projects: 550 MLD Lower Ipo Unutilized water from Angat-Norzagaray Phase 2 ; 750 MLD Sierra Madre; 350 MLD Bayabas Dam; 1,800 MLD Kanan River Phase 1; and 250 MLD East Bay Laguna Lake. Also being considered are 2,000 MLD Kanan River Phase 2, and 6,000 mld Laguna Lake.

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