State-RUN Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System approved the proposed Wawa bulk water supply project of port and casino tycoon Enrique Razon Jr.
Prime Metroline Infrastructure Holdings Corp., the infrastructure company of Razon Jr., earlier offered to invest $250 million to $300 million to develop the Wawa water supply project in Rizal province.
The project aims to deliver at least 80 million liters per day (MLD) to east zone water concessionaire Manila Water Company Inc., which will be the off-taker of the project, starting in 2021 and over 500 MLD by 2025.
The project aims address the current water supply deficit and ensure the future supply of water in Metro Manila.
MWSS administrator Reynaldo Velasco said in a statement the 500 MLD volume of water from the Wawa Bulk Supply Project would boost Manila Water’s current water production by about 30 percent. It is considered the largest water supply project that will be implemented under the Duterte administration.
Velasco said the tariff impact on consumers is expected to be very minimal considering the strategic location of the water supply source within the east zone concession.
Velasco also noted that the project was an integral part of the government’s water security program.
“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.
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, that has prevented the development for over 10 years
Tapping Wawa Dam as water source is not new. It was the first source of potable water for the metropolitan area before Angat Dam, which now supplies 96 percent of water to Metro Manila and adjoining provinces such as Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan.
Meanwhile, Manila Water president and chief executive Ferdinand dela Cruz said the water utility firm supported 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 said.
“As a key member of the MWSS Water Sources Development Technical Working Group, 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 added
Other priority water sources projects identified as doable and implementable during Duterte’s administration are the 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 the 600 MLD Kaliwa Dam-Quezon province.