Celso vows to push water dam project for Zambo PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 14 June 2016 11:48

By DEXTER YAP

District 1 Congressman Celso Lobregat expressed a strong manifestation of sponsoring a resolution in Congress for the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) to make the proposed impounding dam project of Zamboanga City Water District (ZCWD) a priority project of the national government, seeing its viability and necessity following the water crisis brought about by El Ñino late 2015 up to first quarter of 2016

In Monday’s kick-off meeting and official launching of the Pre-Feasibility Study for ZCWD Impounding Dam Project which covers the scope of work for the impounding dam project, surface and generate inputs to the preparation of the Pre-FS study, and to create public awareness about the proposed impounding dam project, representatives from the USAID-Be Secure program led by Chief of Party Ms. Mona Gieser and Haskoning Philippines,Inc. Director & Zamboanga Pre-FS Project Manager Wouter De Hamer exchanged views and propositions with regards to the imperative project of the local water utility.

Engr. Ariel Lapus, USAID-Be Secure Project Team Leader, detailed the overview of the project as well as the feasibility of the same in the current situation of Zamboanga City.

In said program, Lobregat took clarification if the water dam project is only for potable water purposes. He pointed out that water protocol calls for potable water in agricultural needs and energy.

In reply, Mr. Lapus said that financially it will not be feasible if it is only for potable water, it must have energy component for any dam project to be feasible. He said that a conjunctive hydro-electric power plant component, or it will be too high to recover if only for potable water aspect.

Taking the cue from the answer, Lobregat said that he has to include ZAMCELCO, DOE, and the national government to include NEDA in the said proposed dam project.

“In the water protocol, we need to consider water to be used as potable, for agricultural purposes and energy, or else, it would not be a feasible project, as you can see, we also have a problem in energy which still needs to be addressed, it must involve national agencies for such project to be realized,” Lobregat said.

The solon said that like the Ambuklao and La Mesa dam projects, the national government was the one who spearheaded its realization at no cost to the local water utility in the area. A similar program is feasible for Zamboanga city as well if it will become a national project and has no cost to ZCWD, but has to follow the process, as one of the priority projects of NEDA in this region.

“If the water dam is built, it would be better if it also reserves for our electricity needs. It is a factor that should be incorporated in the feasibility study for the said dam, it is very vital to the city, and there is no dam that will be viable if we do not consider the energy component of it,” Lobregat said.

He said that he will file a resolution in the 17th Congress asking NEDA to include the ZCWD water dam project in its priority list here in Mindanao region and certify it as urgent for immediate and more appropriate action of the national government.

“I will not promise but will facilitate further in all my capacity as the representative of the city to push for this laudable and vital project with the support of other national agencies,” Lobregat said.

The solon also thanked USAID-Be Secure for its continuing support to ZCWD and Zamboanga city in general in all its endeavors.

Lobregat pointed out that during his time as mayor, USAID has supported the Septage Sanitation Project and continues to support the city in all its endeavors until present.

“Admittedly ZCWD cannot fund this dam project on its  own. It is impossible, and no water district in the country that has funded its own impounding dam not unless it is a national project and of course, we hope and pray, also with the support of the USAID-Be Secure Program,” Lobregat said.

The main objective of the Pre-Feasibility study on the city’s impounding dam is to identify the river in Zamboanga City that can be impounded to supply the long-term water needs of the city including the requirement during prolonged dry season.

The study includes Secondary Data Gathering, Desktop Selection of Candidate Sites, Site Visit and Flyby over the watershed of Candidate Rivers, Water Demand Prognosis and Supply Shortfall and Selection of Proposed Site of Dam, Hydrologic Analysis of the Preferred Option, Analysis of the Geology of the Preferred Option, Selection of Dam Type, Development of Conceptual Drawings, Estimation of Project Cost , Rapid Environmental and Social Screening, Recommendation for Primary Data Gathering Required for a full Feasibility Study and Risk Workshop. – Dexter Yap