The Novaliches-Balara Aqueduct 4 is coming closer to completion after the tunneling works for the project were finished early this month. 

On August 14, water concessionaire Manila Water announced that the tunnel boring machine (TBM) has already reached the La Mesa Reservoir—seven kilometers away from its entry point in Balara, Quezon City.  

“With the pipelaying complete, the TBM named ‘Dalisay’ and its accessories will now be dismantled and the construction of intake tower, outlet tower, and downstream network system will now commence,” Manila Water shared in a statement. 

According to Manila Water, the project is expected to be finished in 2022. And once fully operational, it will serve as an emergency backup to the three existing aqueducts. 

The building of the Novaliches-Balara Aqueduct 4 involves the construction of a fourth aqueduct connecting the La Mesa Reservoir to the Balara Treatment Plants (BTP) 1 and 2. The main aim of the project is to improve the reliability and security of the raw water transmission system.

Manila Water said the new infrastructure “enables the sequential temporary service suspension of the existing aqueducts for inspection, assessment, and subsequent rehabilitation to help ensure continuous water supply for more than 7 million served in the east zone. The system is composed of a new intake facility at La Mesa, a 1,000 million liters per day (MLD) underground aqueduct, and an outlet facility at BTP.”

Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System OIC Administrator Reynaldo Velasco said the project is one of the current administration’s water security solutions. 

“Part of the agency’s landmark achievements is coming up with interim and long-term water source projects to approximate at least 4,000 MLD in the next 10 or 25 or, hopefully, 50 years,” Velasco explained.

He mentioned that the three other aqueducts will need to undergo rehabilitation and assessment as they’re nearing their 50-year service life—having been built in 1929, 1956, and 1968.

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Image credit: MWSS