THE first phase of the P24.4-billion Bulacan Bulk Water Supply Project (BBWSP) which is expected to be completed in October, is proceeding ahead of schedule, listed conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) said in a statement.
The first stage is targeted for completion by October and the second stage by April 2019, said Edgar Doña, SMC’s head of operations, adding this is “ahead of its proposed time.”
The BBWSP is a public-private partnership (PPP) aimed at supplying water to Bulacan consumers. It is the government’s and SMC’s first PPP project that aims to provide treated bulk water to 24 water service providers in Bulacan and help them meet the current water demand.
It will also reduce the usage of deep wells mitigating the adverse environmental impact of excessive groundwater extraction.
Luzon Clean Water Development Corp., a consortium of San Miguel Holdings (80 percent) and K-Water Resources Corp. (20 percent), was awarded the 30-year contract to provide water to consumers at the rate of P8.50 per cubic meter.
Under the deal, the private partner undertakes the financing, detailed design and construction, as well as operation and maintenance of conveyance facilities, treatment facilities and water source.
The BBWSP is one of the two water projects of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) under the country’s PPP program. The other one is the P18.72-billion New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project aimed at meeting the increasing water demand in Metro Manila.
“The importance of water to sustainable development cannot be overemphasized, and the relentless commitment of MWSS to pursue a water-secure metropolis inspires SMC to set even bigger goals for water efficiency,” said Ramon Ang, SMC president and chief operating officer.
Meanwhile, MWSS administrator Reynaldo Velasco told reporters that the agency is targeting the completion of the Angat Water Transmission Improvement Project (AWTIP) by September 2019.
The new water tunnel to be constructed as part of the AWTIP aims to improve the reliability of the raw water through partial rehabilitation of the transmission system from Ipo to La Mesa and the introduction of water safety, risk and asset management plans.
It involves the construction of a fourth tunnel, which is four meters in diameter by 6.30 kilometers in length from Ipo to Barangay Bigte in Norzagaray town to augment the three existing tunnels linking Ipo Dam to the Bigte settling basin.
The tunnel being built, Velasco said, can withstand an 8.0 magnitude earthquake.
The project is funded through a $123.3-million loan approved by the Asian Development Bank with the Italian construction firm CMC di Ravenna to undertake the project.