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Tunneling equipment for Kaliwa Dam expected in May

TUNNELING EQUIPMENT for the Kaliwa Dam is due to arrive in May, signaling the imminent resumption of work on the contentious project, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei B. Nograles said at a televised briefing Thursday.

Pag dumating ‘yung tunnel boring machine, mas mapapabilis natin, mas makikita natin ‘yung mabilis na pag-usad ng project (When the machinery arrives, things will move forward and progress will be more evident),” he said.

The government hopes to develop the Kaliwa Dam, on the Kaliwa River in Quezon and Rizal provinces, as an alternative source of water for Metro Manila by 2025, Mr. Nograles said.

The machinery is needed to build an integrated reservoir on the border of the two provinces, eventually allowing it to supply 600 million liters of water per day to the capital region.

The China-funded project has been resisted by indigenous communities, religious groups, and environmental activists.

In report in 2019, the Commission on Audit questioned a decision by the implementing agency, the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), to issue a notice to proceed to contractor China Energy Engineering Corp. Ltd. covering the detailed engineering, design, and construction of the project, without having obtained prior consent from affected communities.

Separately, Mr. Nograles said the revised water concession agreements being discussed by the government with Manila Water Co., Inc. and Maynilad Water Services, Inc., are now in the final phase of review.

“‘Yung inatasan to work out with proposed water agreements (The water agreement revisions we were ordered to work on) are already in final stages… finishing touches na lang po,” Mr. Nograles said at the same briefing.

He provided no further details.

The President ordered a reworking of the water concession agreements held by the two companies, which supply water to the capital region, in the wake of the 2019 water crisis.

The MWSS is currently working on six major water projects to improve water security in the National Capital Region, Mr. Nograles said.

“All together, these projects will be able to supply a total of 1,368 million liters per day (MLD).”

Mr. Nograles said the projects include the New Centennial Water Source — Kaliwa Dam Project; the Long Term Water Source Development for Metro Manila Project (Upper Kaliwa and Kanan River); the East Bay Water Supply Project – Phase 1; the East Bay Water Supply Project – Phase 2; the Wawa-Calawis Water Supply Project – Phase 1; and the Wawa-Calawis Water Supply Project – Phase 2. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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