Water supply for households in Metro Manila, Rizal and Cavite is expected to be more secure as the Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a $126-million loan to help the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) build a 15-kilometer aqueduct.
The ADB said in a statement this additional financing for the MWSS’ Angat Water Transmission Improvement project was aimed at rehabilitating the Umiray–Angat–Ipo dam system that provides about 90 percent of Metro Manila’s water supply.
The new loan augments an ongoing ADB financing to the MWSS, which was approved in 2016 to fund the construction of a 6.3-km modern, earthquake-resilient upstream water tunnel. This tunnel is expected to be completed in June, three months ahead of schedule.
Since 1974, ADB has supported more than a dozen Metro Manila water projects, which, in addition to the current loan, includes four other loans supporting the Angat supply system.
“Climate change is making annual rainfall unpredictable, putting tremendous pressure on water resource use,” said Vijay Padmanabhan, director of the Urban Development and Water Division of ADB’s Southeast Asia department .
“The Philippine government is increasing investments in clean infrastructure for environmentally sustainable water resource management across the country,” Padmanabhan said. “Through this project, ADB is helping the Philippines secure Metro Manila’s water supply.”
With a diameter of 3.6 meters, the new aqueduct will have a welded steel concrete-coated pipe and is designed to withstand magnitude 7.2 earthquakes.
Also, the pipeline will increase the system’s water transfer capacity to 66 cubic meters per second (cms) by 2025 from 50 cms in 2019.
Completion of this new aqueduct will allow MWSS to retire its two oldest ones and repair others over the next 12 years or up to 2032.
Customers of MWSS concessionaires Manila Water Co. Inc. and Maynilad Water Services Inc. last year endured a water crisis, with the water level at Angat Dam falling below the critical level of 160 meters above sea level.
When construction starts this year, the project—which is part of the government’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure development program—is expected to provide a stimulus to domestic material suppliers and boost demand for construction jobs. —Ronnel W. Domingo
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