By Victor V. Saulon, Sub-Editor
METROPOLITAN WATERWORKS and Sewerage System (MWSS) expects three Chinese companies to secure procurement documents for the Kaliwa dam project which will be bid out in March, its top official said.
MWSS Administrator Reynaldo V. Velasco said funding for the project is already available through official development assistance (ODA) from China, and had been approved by the National Economic and Development Authority and President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
“May funding ’yan,” he told reporters, adding that no changes had been made about the funding commitment from China.
Mr. Velasco said last year China pledged P10 billion in ODA to fund the project.
MWSS has also revived a plan to build the Kanan dam as a proponent came forward with a project under a public-private partnership, Mr. Velasco said.
Under the previous administration, the P18.72-billion Kaliwa dam had two pre-qualified bidders, which are now out of the picture because of the government’s new procurement mode for the project. It used to be a public-private partnership, with MWSS as implementing agency.
Since the project is funded by ODA from China, Mr. Velasco said there will be no pre-qualification stage since the Chinese embassy identifies the three pre-qualified companies.
“Dapat ’yung gagawa may experience in both dam and tunnel buildings. Okay naman kasi ’yung dalawa diyan top five ng China, ’yung isa top 15 pero may experience sa dam and building (The contractor must have experience in building dams and tunnels. Two of them are fine because they belong to China’s top five. The other one is the top 15 but it has experience in dams and building.),” he added.
Mr. Velasco said the project is required to be finished by 2023, although he has told the Chinese consul to make sure that the contractors are good “because I want this finished before 2022” or before the term of the President ends.
However, he did not identify the three short-listed Chinese companies.
Kaliwa dam, or what the previous administration called New Centennial Water Source Project, was conceived as a new water source for the booming population of Metro Manila and nearby provinces, which is estimated at nearly 12 million.
The dam is meant to be a “medium-term” water source for the Philippine capital, supplementing the supply from the aging Angat transmission system that delivers more than 95% of its water needs.
Angat dam will be having a fourth tunnel connecting Ipo dam to the Bigte settling basin. Water from Angat dam flows to Ipo dam where the release of water is regulated. The project was started towards the end of the past administration and is expected to be completed by 2020.
Kaliwa dam is located along the Kaliwa River in the towns of General Nakar and Infanta, Quezon province. It is expected to provide 600 million liters per day (MLD), adding to the existing supply of 4,132 MLD and enough to meet a demand of a little less than 4,000 MLD by 2020.
A 27-kilometer tunnel will convey the new water from Kaliwa reservoir to the outlet portal in Teresa, Rizal where it will be treated before distribution.
Mr. Velasco placed the size of Kaliwa dam as only one-fifth that of the Kanan dam. He said a group led by Quezon Representative Danilo E. Suarez is behind the proposal.
“Pinapa-review ko kasi ang immediate source niyan is Laiban (I’m having it reviewed because the immediate source is Laiban). It will be a big problem because of 4,500 families that will be affected (and relocated),” he said, referring to a populated barangay.
“Now with the modern technology, we might opt for the Kanan [dam], which is a bigger dam that has a bigger capacity. Laiban is only 1,800 MLD. Kanan will amount [to] 3,000 MLD but we have to study. You have to project the requirement of the people [of] Metro Manila, Rizal, Cavite and Bulacan,” Mr. Velasco said.
He said Kanan dam might be implemented as a public-private partnership (PPP), and that he was trying to convince Mr. Suarez to agree to the scheme.
“’Yung project niya is more of hydropower. So the water is just a by-product. Sabi ko, basta maibigay mo sa amin ng mura ’yung tubig, okay na ’yan. Water is a national property naman. We give out water permit. So kung kikita siya sa hydro, ’yung water niya bibilhin ko (His project is more of hydropower. So the water is just a by-product. I told him that as long as you can sell water cheaply, that is fine. Water is a national property. We give out water permit. So if he will earn from hydro, I’ll buy his water),” he said.
Mr. Velasco said the capacity of the hydro-electric power project was placed at 400 megawatts.