MANILAIt is all systems go for the construction of the vital PHP12.2-billion Kaliwa Dam project in Quezon province that will provide an additional 600 million liters a day (MLD) of water to Metro Manila and environs.
Administrator Reynaldo Velasco of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) announced this during a press conference Thursday at his office in Balara, Quezon City.
Velasco allayed fears raised by Mayor Grace America of Infanta Quezon, who said that in the event of an earthquake, the lives of the people residing near the dam would be endangered.
Velasco said environment experts, both from the government and the contractor, have carefully studied all possibilities, including the worst scenario of an 8.0 magnitude earthquake, and corrective measures have been taken up to ensure the safety of the people in the area.
Corrective measures have been undertaken, he said.
Velasco said that the Kaliwa Dam is designed to withstand an 8.0 magnitude earthquake.
While Mayor America has opposed the construction of the dam, Velasco said Mayor Eliseo Rozul of Nakar, also of Quezon Province, has expressed his full support for the Kaliwa Dam project as it will bring economic growth not only in Quezon but the whole Southern Tagalog region in particular and the whole country in general.
Velasco said the MWSS have coordinated with various government agencies regarding the construction of the Kaliwa Dam, dubbed as the New Centennial Water Source Project (NCWSP), which was conceived to ensure that MWSS meets the growing demand of the concession area through the construction of Kaliwa Dam as medium term water source.
With regards to the flooding issue, Velasco said that this has been addressed by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
Velasco said the DPWH has set aside PHP2 billion for anti-flooding project in the towns of Infanta and Gen. Nakar both in Quezon.
Consultations have been undertaken by MWSS with various government agencies and the private sector regarding the construction of the Kaliwa Dam, he said.
Velasco said that when completed, the Kaliwa Dam will supply 600 MLD to Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
Tracing the history of the proposed Kaliwa Dam, Velasco said that the project had been in the doldrums for 34 years.
He said it is only during the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte that the PHP12.2-billion Kaliwa Dam Project will finally go full blast next year.
Velasco, a retired 3-star police general, said there is no more stopping the construction of the project, which is an integral part of President Duterte's Build, Build, Build program designed to sustain the country's economy.
He said that the construction will be undertaken by China Energy Engineering Corporation (CEEC) starting next year and will be completed in 2023.
It's a done deal national project, Velasco said, referring to the New Centennial Water SourceKaliwa Dam Project located in Barangay Pagsanjan in General Nakar and Barangay Magsaysay in Infanta, both in Quezon Province.
The ambitious water project includes the construction of a 17.70 kilometers of conveyance tunnel, Velasco said.
The objective of the government is to ensure water security and as a redundant water source, thereby reducing the total dependency on the Angat Dam reservoir that also supplies water to the metropolis and nearby areas, he said.
He also said that the construction of the multi-billion water project was first approved by the National Economy Development Authority (NEDA) on May 29, 2014, and on June 27, 2017 on the change of project financing scheme from Public, Private Partnership (PPP) to Overseas Development Assistance (ODA).
The ambitious water project was planned 34 years ago but it was only during the Duterte administration that the Kaliwa Dam project is being implemented, Velasco said.
When completed, this will answer the nagging water security problem in Metro Manila, Cavite, Rizal, Bulacan and Quezon, he pointed out.
Velasco said the benefits include tourism boom, opening of new roads, employment opportunities and the economy in these areas.
At the same time, Velasco assured that engineers and other experts will see to it that the Kaliwa Dam can withstand an eight magnitude earthquake.
"Our experts and consultants have carefully studied this possibility and made sure it can withstand the Big One just in case it strikes, Velasco said. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency