MANILA — The Centennial Kaliwa Dam project is expected to be fully operational in four years' time, the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) said Tuesday.
MWSS Administrator Leonor Cleofas told reporters that they expect the project to be finished by the last quarter of 2026, and to be operational by early 2027.
On Tuesday, the MWSS gave reporters a first look at the project's tunnel interior.
Construction workers have been reportedly working around the clock to bore a 22-kilometer tunnel from Teresa, Rizal to General Nakar, Quezon Province.
As of writing, about 352 meters of the said tunnel have already been bored.
Cleofas said the Kaliwa Dam was "integral" in ensuring Metro Manila's long-term water supply, with about 20 million customers expected to benefit from the project.
"Itong ating Centennial Kaliwa Project is part of our water security roadmap. Ang ating 90 percent of water is coming from Angat [Dam], matagal na yan noong 1968 pa, so kailangan talaga na magkaroon tayo ng another long-term water source, para if ever something happens to Angat Dam, meron naman tayong pagkukunan ng tubig," she said.
(Ninety percent of our water is coming from Angat Dam, which has been operating since 1968, so it's about time that we have another long-term water source, so if ever something happens to Angat Dam, we would have an alternative source of our water supply.)
"Ang Centennial Water Supply Kaliwa project ay makakatugon sa water supply sa ating customers sa Cavite, Rizal, Metro Manila, at part ng Bulacan," she added.
(The Centennial Water Supply Kaliwa project will cater to the water supply needs of our customers in Cavite, Rizal, Metro Manila, and part of Bulacan.)
Cleofas also noted the importance to build long-term projects to avoid water shortages like what Metro Manila residents experienced in 2019.
"Noong 2019 kung maalala natin, nagkaroon tayo ng water shortage, ang ating board of trustees ay nagpa approve ng short to medium. Kaya tayo ay nakahanda dahil alam natin na every year may summer na dumarating. Sa nangyari sa 2019, we are braced for a better position pag summer months," she said.
(If we can recall in 2019, we had a water shortage, and our board of trustees approved short- to medium-term projects. That's why we are ready now because we know that summer comes every year. Compared to 2019, we are braced for a better position now during the summer months.)
The project, Cleofas said, was supposed to begin in 2019 but faced serious criticism due to its impact on ancestral domains and the environment.
As of writing, some groups were still opposing the Kaliwa Dam's construction due to its potential damage to the environment of the Sierra Madre, which is considered Luzon's natural shield from strong tropical cyclones.
But the MWSS said it has a team that would monitor the project's environmental impact, as well as a standby fund to be used in mitigating potential destruction in the biodiversity of the area.
"This is not a China project. This is a project of the MWSS, at tumitingin tayo na makukumpleto natin ang ating proyekto on time at the end of 2026," Cleofas said.
(We are seeing the completion of this project by the end of 2026.)