Gov’t soon to start construction of P18.7-B Kaliwa Dam project » Manila Bulletin Business

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Gov’t soon to start construction of P18.7-B Kaliwa Dam project

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By Madelaine B. Miraflor

In just a matter of months, the government will finally start the construction of the Kaliwa Dam project, a portion of the administration’s flagship New Centennial Water Source Project (NCWSP) that would cost nearly P19 billion to build.

Part of the NCWSP, among the “legacy” water projects being pursued now by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) is the construction of the Kaliwa Dam in Brgy. Pagsangahan, General Nakar, Quezon and Brgy. Magsaysay, Infanta, Quezon.

The Kaliwa Dam project, which would have a capacity of 600 million liters a day (MLD), will take more than five years to build and would require an investment amount of P18.72 billion. Its water supply tunnel would have a 2,400-MLD capacity.

In March last year, the government ordered the shift in financing for the NCWSP. Instead of Public-Private Partnership (PPP), the project will be funded through the Official Development Assistance (ODA) from China.

And since the ODA is coming from the Chinese government, the Philippines would now have to choose a Chinese contractor — among all the names submitted by the People’s Republic of China — to implement the project.

These three Chinese contractors and companies are: China Engineering Co., Ltd., PowerChina Limited, and the consortium of Guandung Foreign Construction, Co., Ltd. and Guandong Yuantian Engineering Co., Ltd.

MWSS Administrator Reynaldo Velasco said that by next week, these three firms can now procure bidding documents from the Philippine government.

This will be followed by a bidding process, which will be held some time in March. The construction will immediately start once the winning bidder is named.

Velasco said he wants the project to be done earlier than the original target which is 2023.

“I told the Chinese consul to make sure their contractors are good because I want this finished before 2022 or before the term of President Rodrigo Duterte ends,” Velasco told reporters.

To be exact, the Chinese government committed P10.2 billion worth of ODA to help fund the Kaliwa Dam project.

As of now, there is an on going coordination between MWSS and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) relative to the latter’s participation to construct the access roads for the project.

There’s also an ongoing coordination with the local government units (LGUs) and other concerned agencies relative to their endorsements and issuance of required clearances.

It was just in November last year when Velasco first announced that MWSS has started its own due diligence and vetting on the aforementioned Chinese contractors.

Overall, the proposed NCWSP will provide water security, reliability and additional supply for Metro Manila.

It is planned to be site specific, zeroing in on the Kaliwa-Kanan-Agos River Basin as an alternative water source.

The NCWSP will involve the construction of a dam at the Kaliwa River (Laiban Dam), and a smaller dam (Kaliwa Dam) downstream to maximize the water supply, and to ensure short and long term supply for Metro Manila and its adjoining areas.

Kanan, instead of Laiban

As part of the administration’s flagship water projects, MWSS has also been pushing for the Laiban Dam project, which is three times bigger than the Kaliwa Dam.

However, Velasco said that they are now more keen to build the Kanan Dam first before Laiban Dam because of a “big problem” that could potentially arise with the relocation of 4,500 families living near Laiban village.

“Now with the modern technology, we might opt for the Kanan, which is a bigger dam that has a bigger capacity. Laiban Dam is only 1,800 MLD, Kanan will amount to 3,000 MLD,” Velasco said.

The MWSS chief said that Congressman Danilo Suarez, through his company and his partners, is proposing to build a 400-megawatts (MW) hydropower project in Kanan.

“[Based on his proposal] the water is just going to be a bi-product. It’s okay as long as he will sell the water back to us on affordable rates,” Velasco said.

He said that MWSS will assign a Technical Working Group that will work with Suarez’ team to study the proposal.

According to him, other companies, like San Miguel Corp. (SMC) who proposed to build the Kanan Dam years ago, are welcome to challenge Suarez’s proposal.

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