MWSS approves Wawa bulk water project
A new source of raw water for Manila Water Co. Inc. gained a step closer to realization as the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) gave the green light to the Razon group’s Wawa Bulk Water Supply Project.
MWSS administrator Reynaldo Velasco said in a statement the Wawa project in Rizal could deliver at least 80 million liters of raw water per day (MLD) starting year 2021 and up to 500 MLD by 2025.
Velasco said the Wawa project was being reviewed by the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel and the MWSS-Regulatory Office.
According to the MWSS, the project’s approval came with the resolution of long-standing legal issues between the agency and Razon-led Prime Infra’s joint venture partner, businessman Oscar Violago’s San Lorenzo Ruiz Builders Group (SLRB).
Also, the approval caps over 20 years of development work by SLRB and Prime Infra.
Velasco said that the 500 MLD volume of water from the Wawa project would boost Manila Water’s production of potable water by about 30 percent.
The project’s impact on water rates “is expected to be very minimal considering the total systems cost of the treated water is cost-effective compared to other water source options,” Velasco said.
In 2018, a proposal of Manila Water to build a water treatment plant in Laguna that will tap lake water was not approved. Back then, Velasco said the cost of that plant was too much, compared to what the planned Kaliwa Dam project could provide.
As 24-hour water supply is still not being provided across Manila Water’s concession area, the company is relying on temporary sources such as deep wells and a “sharing” agreement with Maynilad Water Services Inc.
Last April, Manila Water president Ferdinand dela Cruz said the company was looking at three potential projects for lasting solutions.
These include, aside from the Wawa project, a 300-MLD project of the AMA Group that intends to tap raw water from Laguna de Bay and a Sierra Madre project that could provide 750 MLD.
“All these three are still in the level of technical working groups,” Dela Cruz said. “We are working with the proponents of these three projects.”