Regulator approved Wawa bulk water supply project — Prime Infra

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THE WATER COMPANY of businessman Enrique K. Razon Jr. said on Monday that his joint venture for the Wawa bulk water project had been approved by the government, paving the way for improvement of Metro Manila’s supply.

In a statement on Monday, Mr. Razon’s Prime Metroline Infrastructure Holdings, Inc. (Prime Infra) said the project had been “decisively” approved by state-led Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) on Nov. 14, 2019.

It quoted MWSS Chairman Reynaldo V. Velasco as saying: “As promised to the public, the Board has already given its final approval for the Wawa Bulk Water Project.”

“This is good news for everyone, not only for the proponents and stakeholders, but more importantly for the MWSS consumers. This will ensure water security for the greater Metro Manila area in the coming years.”

The joint venture, WawaJVCo, Inc., is expected to supply 80 million liters per day (MLD) from Wawa dam in 2021 and at least 500 MLD in 2025.

Prime Infra said the final approval of the remaining documents, which authorized MWSS Administrator Emmanuel B. Salamat to sign on behalf of the agency, took place during the MWSS Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday last week.

It said the approval came after the favorable opinion issued by the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel on Nov. 7 on the remaining conditions precedent.

“This approval is the remaining document to make the project fully effective and enable the project proponent to proceed in the development work,” the company said.

It also quoted Mr. Velasco as saying: “I would like to assure the public that MWSS is doing everything in its power to address the current water crisis.”

“We are committed to make sure that we have enough supply to meet the demands of the growing population in Metro Manila. I am sure the other government agencies who are mandated to issue permits will follow suit as this is a priority project to solve the water crisis,” he added.

During his term as MWSS administrator, Mr. Velasco encouraged Mr. Razon and the Wawa project’s controlling stakeholder — San Lorenzo Ruiz Builders and Developers Corp. of Oscar I. Violago — to jointly develop the project.

He also urged Manila Water Co., Inc. to be involved in it.

In August, Manila Water signed a 30-year raw water supply offtake agreement with MWSS and WawaJVCo. The Ayala-led water concessionaire for Metro Manila’s east zone said the agreement would involve the supply of raw water from the Wawa and Tayabasan rivers. “This is among the medium-term water supply augmentation measures identified to provide water security and sustainability to the consumers of Manila Water in the East Service Area,” it had said.

Wawa dam in Rodriguez, Rizal is gravity dam built in 1909 during the American occupation of the Philippines. It was Manila’s main source of water until Angat dam was built in 1968.

On its Website, Prime Infra said the first weir and first basin will have a supply capacity of 40 MLD by 2021. The second weir and basin will have the same capacity by 2021. In the same year, Manila Water’s water treatment plan at Calawis River will be available.

The upper Wawa dam with a supply capacity of 438 MLD is expected to be available by 2025. — Victor V. Saulon