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Laiban-Kaliwa Dam is the Answer to Metro Manila's Water Shortage Problem. #LaibanDam #KaliwaDam #Rizal #Quezon

This post is triggered by the events of last week. From March 7-15, half of Metropolitan Manila and some municipalities in Rizal province experienced low pressure to no water for almost a week. It left half of the Philippine's capital in chaos. Our building had no water for 36 hours. Que horror! While these kind of events doesn't irritate me that much anymore, it certainly made life very uncomfortable for a few days, and to others, like hell. Two weeks into the situation, though greatly improved, water interruptions is still experienced in all areas served by Manila Water Company. And since summer has just started, looks like we are in for a long, hot and sticky summer ahead.

The Facts:
Two companies were awarded concession for the treatment and distribution of potable water in Metro Manila, Rizal and parts of Cavite for 25 years from 1997-2022.
Manila Water Company Inc. (MWCI) 
- DMCI Group
EAST ZONE: Mandaluyong, Marikina, Pasig, Pateros, San Juan, Taguig, Makati, and parts of Quezon City and Manila. It also services Antipolo City and the Rizal towns of Angono, Baras, Binagonan, Cainta, Cardona, Jala-Jala, Morong, Pililla, Rodriquez, Tanay, Taytay, and San Mateo.
Maynilad Water Services Inc. (MWSI) 
- Lopez Group
WEST ZONE: Manila (except San Andres), Pasay, Paranaque, Caloocan, Muntinlupa, Las Pinas, Valenzuela, and parts of Makati and Quezon City, including the municipalities of Navotas and Malabon. Its franchise area also covers Cavite City, and its municipalities of Bacoor, Imus, Kawit, Noveleta, and Rosario.

What Really Happened?

Or the better question should be, what is happening? It has been a problem for years but in the 15 years that I have been living in Metro Manila-Rizal areas, I have never experienced a water shortage this severe. Turns out that Manila Water Company has made an announcement regarding the water shortage a few weeks before the fiasco but many residents in the East Zone, including our household, didn't hear the news. When it finally struck, many residents were caught unprepared. People were in panic. The additional announcement by Manila Water that the situation will only be resolved "once rainy season sets in" which is like, June or 2 months later, added to the frenzy. We started fetching water from our swimming pool at the roof deck to have something to flush our toilets. Such was the scene in many apartments in the East Zone.

What is Wrong with the Supply?
And Why is the West Zone Not Affected?

Manila Water Company initially explained that the reason for the water shortage is the low-level of water at La Mesa Dam due to El Niño and long summer. Pag-Asa quickly refuted this by saying that El Niño has no effect yet and MWSS also added that Manila Water Company source its water from Angat Dam and not La Mesa Dam and Angat's water level is still in not critical level. So what was really the problem?  Fact is, both Manila Water Company and Manila Water Services source their water from Angat Dam in Bulacan. What the former failed to elaborate is that from Angat Dam, their water has to pass through Ipoh Dam and eventually La Mesa Dam before it could be distributed to its customers. Since the water level of La Mesa Dam is too low, the water coming from Angat Dam could not enter its gates.  That's the whole study.
New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project 
is the Answer
Whichever way we look at it,relying only on water supply from Angat Dam and La Mesa Dam will not be enough to sustain the increasing industrialization in Metropolitan Manila with a population that swells up to 16 Million during daytime. This is only a preview of what is to come in the years to come. Metro Manila needs a water source to sustain its population and businesses. This has been tackled as early as the 1980's but the lack of political will made it impossible to construct a bigger dam. 

I had the chance to go on a 4x4 Adventure ride to a jungle base in Tanay Rizal back in 2013 and I had the opportunity to see the twin 900 x 500 m diversion tunnels built in 1986  at Brgy. Laiban Tanay Rizal. Read:

Various plans for the construction of a dam in Tanay, Rizal have been proposed since the 1970s, when the Marcos government first decided that the location was a more viable location for a dam than the Marikina River, however, protests against the construction of the dam, called Laiban because Barangay Laiban was chosen as the exact project site, very quickly led to protests from various groups. Foremost among these were indigenous peoples from Central and Southern Luzon, notably the local Remontado Dumagat people, whose ancestral lands would specifically be affected. Environmental and Activist groups later also raised concerns. As a result, construction of the dam has been approved, deferred, stopped, and restarted a number of times in the decades since. Source >> here.
In report by Philippine Daily Inquirer reporter Niña Calleja in that same month, MWSS senior deputy administrator Nathaniel Santos indicated that the main difference of the NCWSP from previous plans was that it would involve the construction of two smaller dams at the Kaliwa watershed instead of just the one. A main dam (Laiban Dam) would be built at the upper Kaliwa River in Barangay Laiban, and another regulating dam (Kaliwa Low Dam) further downstream. Source >> here

Project Update:
Status: (as of 31 August 2018)

Loan Signing scheduled on the state visit of China President Xi Jinping on Nov. 19-21, 2018.
Ongoing Acquisition of lots required for the Tunnel Outlet Portal
Ongoing coordination with the following agencies: