Gov't eyes new dams to help Angat

by Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 14 2014 05:01 PM | Updated as of May 15 2014 01:01 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The National Water Resources Board is pushing for the development of an additional water source for Metro Manila.

NWRB executive director Dr. Sevillo David said with Metro Manila's ballooning population projected to reach 13 million by 2015 and booming infrastructure development, the need for water is also going up.

Climate change also contributes to the water problem as evidenced by the reduction of water level in Angat dam which has now reached the critical level.

While Angat dam has a capacity of 4 billion liters a day, the projected need for Metro Manila will rise to 5 billion liters/day in the next years, thus the need to augment the water source.

David added the NWRB has already granted water rights to Laiban dam and will likely give one to Kaliwa dam. Both dams will use water from the Agos river.

Meanwhile, the NWRB says it is unlikely that the water allocation for Maynilad and Manila Water will not be reduced at 42 cubic meters per second.

David explained based on PAGASA's projection, the rains will already come by June or July when water at the dam is expected to dip at an estimated 170 meters.

The government will initiate the construction of two additional dams to ensure adequate water supply for Metro Manila and neighboring provinces.

MWSS senior deputy administrator Nathaniel Santos says the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) has already approved the project proposal for the development of Kaliwa dam in General Nakar, Quezon and Laiban dam in Tanay, Rizal but this will still be presented to President Aquino for final approval by next month.

According to Santos, the Kaliwa dam will have a capacity of 600 million liters/day while the Laiban dam will bring additional 1.8-billion liters/day or a total of 2.4-billion liters a day in additional water on top of Angat dam's water production.

Santos said the estimated cost of Laiban dam is P26 billion while the Kaliwa dam will be around P18.7 billion.

The project will be bidded out once approved by the President and will be one of government's public private partnerships (PPP) through the build-operate-transfer mode.

Asked if this means additional expense for consumers, Santos says the estimate increase in tariff will be around P1/cubic meter.

Based on the timetable, the construction of the Kaliwa dam will be done first, targeted to commence in 2019 while Laiban will follow next.

In 2020, a conveyance tunnel will be constructed from Kaliwa dam to Laiban dam.

Laiban dam is also envisioned to produce electricity similar to Angat dam but no specifics yet on the power production aspect of the Laiban dam.