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Japan firm revives offer for Kaliwa water project

A Japanese company revived its unsolicited proposal to build the Kaliwa Intake Weir project under a 25-year build-operate-transfer scheme as a more feasible and cost-efficient alternative to Metro Manila’s potable water supply problem.

Speaking at a press briefing in Quezon City over the weekend, Osaka-based Global Utility Development Corp. Ltd. said it was still keen to build the Kaliwa Intake Weir project, 10 years after it presented the proposal to the government.

“Our proposal was first presented to the government in 2009 to address the need for water in Metro Manila and it holds true today, more than ever,” said GUDC chief executive Toshikazu Nomura.

“We propose to build a water source that not only meets the capacities needed by MWSS but also utilizes a long-term, sustainable approach in consideration of communities and livelihoods in the area,” he said.

GUDC’s alternative offer to the Kaliwa Dam project, the Kaliwa Intake Weir, was first presented in 2009 to the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System to address the growing demand for potable water in Metro Manila. The two parties signed a memorandum of understanding at that time. GUDC again submitted the proposal in September 2017 on the request of the MWSS board.

Under a BOT scheme, the proposal would be at no cost to the government nor would it require sovereign guarantees. The proposed Kaliwa Intake Weir will have a capacity of 550 million liters per day. 

It will have a 7-meter-high weir with a 16-kilometer-long tunnel that has a diameter of 3.3 meters. Included in the proposal is the construction of a water treatment plant within the vicinity. Construction is expected to take 36 months.

“If we start by June 2019, the project can be completed within this administration,” said Nomura.

Nomura said the proposal would address the issue of the imminent inundation of Daraitan Village under the current MWSS project.

“The design of the weir and associated facilities takes a highly sustainable approach. We are conscious of lessening the impact on the surrounding communities, particularly Daraitan Village. This makes it a win-win for all stakeholders, especially the affected LGUs,” he said.

A weir, or low head dam, is a barrier across the horizontal width of a river that alters the flow characteristics of water and results in a change in the height of the river level. Nomura said this would be a viable alternative to building a dam and would sufficiently deliver the capacity required by MWSS.

Nomura said he was hoping that the MWSS would finally honor the memorandum of understanding it signed with GUDC in 2009.  

“We are supportive of President Duterte’s vision for Kaliwa Dam. We are ready, and we are committed to delivering this project within the soonest possible time should it be reconsidered,” said Nomura.

Meanwhile, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III denied what he called “misleading claims” from some quarters that high-interest rates were attached to loans extended by China to the Philippine government to help fund infrastructure projects under the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program.

He said the Philippines was able to secure better concessional loan financing from China for big-ticket water infrastructure projects with lower interest rates and fees and longer grace periods under the Duterte watch compared those obtained by the Arroyo administration. 

He said data collated by the DOF’s International Finance Group showed that the New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project, which China is helping fund with a $211-million loan, was secured by the Duterte administration with a low interest-rate of 2 percent per annum. 

The Arroyo administration, on the other hand, was able to obtain the government’s $116.6 million-loan from China for the Angat Water Utilization and Aqueduct Improvement Project Phase II with a higher interest rate of 3 percent per annum.  With Julito G. Rada

Topics: Global Utility Development Corp. Ltd. , Japan firm , Kaliwa Intake Weir project , water supply , MWSS

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