The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) is still waiting to secure approvals to start the construction of the Kaliwa Dam, which is being hailed as the answer to Metro Manila’s water problems.  

MWSS Acting Administrator and Chairman Reynaldo Velasco said they have yet to receive two important documents for the dam project, specifically the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) and Special Use Agreement in Protected Areas (SAPA).

The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) will hand out the FPIC, while the SAPA will be issued by the regional office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

According to Velasco, the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) is already starting to mobilize due to the delays. 

“ARTA is working on it because it’s a government project. It’s the ARTA now that is assisting [us because of the delays. ARTA is becoming involved here because of the delay,” Velasco told Manila Bulletin

If not addressed immediately, Velasco warned that residents of Metro Manila will be most affected as they will “will pay for the cost of the water.”

At present, Metro Manila still relies on the 54-year-old Angat Dam for much of its water supply, which often leads to water shortages. 

Once finished and operational, the Php 12-billion Kaliwa Dam Project, which is a joint venture of MWSS and China Energy Engineering Corporation (CEEC), will provide as much as 600 million liters of water per day. It will be located between the provinces of Rizal and Quezon.

Due to the project’s potential impact on the environment, it’s been facing a lot of opposition from several environmental groups and community members.

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Image credit: MWSS