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MWSS, NIA to jointly carry out key projects

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PHILSTAR

THE Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and National Irrigation Administration (NIA) will share resources to better participate in the government’s infrastructure program, MWSS said.

In a statement, MWSS Administrator Reynaldo V. Velasco said he and NIA Administrator Ricardo R. Visaya had agreed to help solve the water and food security problems of their stakeholders through joint projects that include flood mitigation.

Mr. Velasco said the water supply in Metro Manila and nearby provinces remains adequate, but more sources need to be developed for water security in the agency’s coverage areas.

Of the water supplied to the MWSS service areas, 96% is sourced from the Angat-Umiray water system, 3% from Laguna de Bay and 1% from ground water, he said. The agency has not developed new sources in decades except for the Angat-Umiray system, he added.

MWSS is implementing several water infrastructure projects, including the Bulacan bulk water supply project and what is collectively named the “Angat Water Security Projects.”

Mr. Velasco said of the agency’s 46 cubic meters per second (cms) of water rights, 15 cms is from the NIA’s 36 cms water rights as called for under Resolution No. 03-0188 of the National Water Resources Board (NWRB).

The distribution leaves NIA with 21 cms equivalent to 1,814 million liters per day (MLD). NIA’s Bustos dam currently has a capacity of 600 MLD, leaving 1,214 MLD that can be tapped for potable water.

He said MWSS had recently entered into a memorandum of agreement with ITP-JV Co. to conduct a feasibility study on the use of the untapped water.

ITP-JV Co. submitted an unsolicited proposal to extract an average flow of 800 MLD, of which 400 MLD will augment the water supply of Bulacan, and 400 MLD will be used by MWSS.

The water extraction will be done in two phases, with the first one calling for the extraction of 250 MLD by 2020-2021. The second phase will extract 550 MLD, and will be completed by 2022-2024.

Mr. Velasco said the move is the first part of the agency’s “ABC Projects.” It will form part of the Angat-Ipo-Norzagaray water optimization plan.

The other components of the ABC Projects are the Bayabas dam project and the Candaba multi-purpose impounding dam. The Bayabas project is in Doña Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan.

The completion of these projects will provide the desired water security level for mega Manila for the next five to 10 years, he said.

For NIA, the projects mean sufficient water supply for irrigation as it fulfills its objective of agricultural productivity, economic growth and food sufficiency, MWSS said. — Victor V. Saulon

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