By Victor V. Saulon, Sub-Editor

A JOINT venture company is proposing to build an impounding basin costing P9-10 billion that will catch the unused water from Angat and Bustos dams in Bulacan and convey it through a tunnel and deliver up to 800 million liters per day (MLD) to the water concessionaires.

“We’ll submit through a consortium an unsolicited proposal to the government, which is under BOT (build-operate-transfer),” said Orville M. Roque, president of the joint venture ITP-Maharlika Bulk Water Co. in a briefing on Wednesday.

“What we need really is an impounding area,” he said, adding that by the end of April his group would have been able to finish its proposal for submission to the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS).

He said the project targets to supply the government, through MWSS, about 800 MLD. It will have two segments. The “low” dam will impound the water that flows from Angat Dam to Ipo Dam, and the Angat hydroelectric power plant, from which the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) gets it water for farming.

Mr. Roque said on average, of the 1,800 MLD that flows to NIA, only 600 MLD goes to irrigate farmlands, while the rest or 1,200 MLD is not used and wasted. He said the joint venture’s proposal plans to put a dam and impounding basins to optimize the wasted water.

The water will be conveyed to the concessionaires to a 5-kilometer tunnel with a 2.5-meter diameter.

“It will be subject to Swiss challenge,” Mr. Roque said, referring to the process that seeks challengers with a better offer and a chance for the original proponent to match the counter-offer.

He said the first segment of the project, which targets to deliver 250 MLD, could be completed in two years from its expected approval from relevant government agencies by June 2020. The joint venture expects to earn from the water sold to concessionaires Manila Water Co., Inc. and Maynilad Water Services, Inc.

Pipilitan naming matapos ng June of 2022 ’yung first segment,” Mr. Roque said.

Mr. Roque said the joint venture plans to source funding through internal equity and from multilateral lending agencies. He said the second segment is targeted to be completed by 2025.

MWSS Administrator Reynaldo V. Velasco said the proposal had been approved in principle by the agency.

“The board has given the go-signal to do the feasibility study,” he said, adding that the output will be presented to the MWSS board for final approval.

“If there is no challenger, they will proceed,” he said.