News: San Miguel Pursues Laiban Project -
02 Aug 2010
DIVERSIFYING conglomerate San Miguel Corp. is still pursuing the P65-billion Laiban Dam project to provide the much-needed water supply for Metro Manila despite the controversies hounding the project, company president Ramon S. Ang said Monday.
It was only in March this year that the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System terminated its joint-venture talks with San Miguel Bulk Water Co. Inc. for the proposed development of the Laiban Dam.
Former MWSS administrator Diosdado Jose Allado did not provide details as to why the negotiations were terminated, only saying there was “no meeting of the minds.”
SMBWCI’s proposal to develop the Laiban Dam in Tanay, Rizal, would have provided 1.9 billion liters a day of raw water, enough to supply Metro Manila for the next 30 to 40 years. It was also expected to address a possible water shortfall of 1.6 billion liters a day by 2015.
Ang’s statement came in the wake of a water crisis, which more than highlighted the need for Metro Manila to have another source of water supply than the Angat Dam in Bulacan.
The Angat Dam currently supplies more than 90 percent of the water requirements of Metro Manila, home to some 12 million people.
The water levels at the Angat Dam fell to historic lows of 157 to 158 meters above sea level (masl), prompting water concessionaires to either reduce water pressure in some areas or cut supply to a few hours in a day for other areas, particularly those in the West Zone.
It was only recently that water levels at the dam began to increase due to the rains. As of yesterday, the water level at the Angat stood at 162.34 masl, which was still below the critical level of 180 masl.
Water concessionaires Manila Water Co. and Maynilad Water Services are also looking at jointly developing Laiban and other areas as new possible water sources for Metro Manila.
“What’s happening to us now is an eye opener. We can’t be dependent on one source so we have to look into several options which should not necessarily be a big water source,” said Jeric Sevilla, head of Manila Water’s corporate communications.
Herbert Consunji, chief operating officer of Maynilad, said they planned to jointly initiate these water projects to the MWSS to accelerate the development of the new water sources, which included Wawa Dam, Sierra Madre, and even the Pampanga River, among others.