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MWSS undertakes safety measures to mitigate effects in the event the ‘Big One” strikes

To mitigate the effects in the event, God forbid, the “Big One” would hit Luzon, the Metropolitan Waterworks Sewerage System (MWSS) has undertaken safety measures to secure the Angat Dam, the main source of water for Metro Manila and its environs.

“Because we all can’t take risks, we should always be prepared and ready when and where disaster strikes,” MWSS Administrator Reynaldo V. Velaso said in an e-mail to this writer Sunday.

He stressed the importance of the ongoing Angat Dam and Dyke Strengthening Project (ADDS) to ensure the steady supply of water to the national capital region and nearby provinces being serviced by the MWSS.

Velasco said that with the absence of adequate alternative source of water, damage to the dam in the event of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake or the “Big One” will greatly impact not only on the health and well-being of the Filipinos but also on food supply, public safety and energy resource.

He said the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology’s pronouncement on the dangers posed by the West Valley Fault prompted MWSS to undertake safety measures.

Velasco said this prompted MWSS to sign a Memorandum of Agreement with various agencies such as the National Power Corporation (NPC), Power Sector Assets & Liabilities Management (PSALM) Corporation, National Irrigation Administration, Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Administration (PAGASA), Office of Civil Defense (OCD), PHILVOCS and the provincial government of Bulacan in the implementation of the project.

A local fault of the West Valley Fault lies 200 meters east of the Angat Main Dyke which is located in Barangay San Lorenzo, Norzagaray, Bulacan. Movement in the West Valley Fault may affect the local fault.

This is the first time Angat Dam is undergoing a massive rehabilitation project since it was constructed in 1960.

According to Velasco, the dyke strengthenin is very timely adding, that “in the business of water and water security, there must be no limit given the growing population, and, God forbid the occurrence of the Big One in our lifetime.”

Although Angat Dam is under the management of the NPC, being a multi-purpose hydro facility, it provides irrigation to 20 municipalities in Pampanga and Bulacan; supplies the domestic and industrial water requirements of residents in Metro Manila; generates hydroelectric power to feed the Luzon Grid; and reduces flooding to downstream towns and villages, as well as releases water for the MWSS through the auxiliary turbines where it is diverted to two tunnels going to the MWSS owned and operated Ipo Dam.

The ADDSP is being funded and spearheaded by the Angat Hydropower Corporation (AHC), which is co-owned by K-water and SMC Global Power through its subsidiary Power Ventures Energy Inc. AHC acquired the Angat Hydroelectric Power Plant (AHEPP).

The Supreme Courton 09 October 2012 declared the award of the Angat Hydro-Electric Power Plant (AHEPP) to Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-Water) – now known as Angat Hydropower Corporation (AHC) – as valid and legal and the implementation of the ADDSP was handed over to K-Water.

Since contract packages 2 & 4 of ADDSP in the total cost of PhP 553.30 million remains to be the responsibility of the government, the MWSS decided to transfer the funds directly to the agency mandated to implement contract packages 2 & 4, which are the National Power Corporation (NPC) and the Provincial Government of Bulacan (PGB), respectively, as allowed by the DBM and NEDA, subject to the execution of a MOA.

The MOA between MWSS and the Provincial Government of Bulacan was signed on 22 March 2016 including the turn-over of check for the corresponding fund transfer intended to finance portion of works under the Angat River Downstream Improvement Project (ARDIP) of Bulacan while MOA between MWSS and the National Power Corporation was signed on 03 May 2016 including the turn-over of check for the corresponding transfer of funds intended to finance the Angat Dam Instrumentation.

Package 2 of the project was originally intended for MWSS to undertake. However, privatization of the Angat Hydro Electric Power Plant (AHEPP) in which K-Water was awarded the project, effected a change of responsibilities. The responsibility for implementation of the package is now with NPC.

AHC estimates that the rehabilitation project will be completed within the next two years.

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