A flash flood incident in 2016 at Sumag River in Sitio Sumag Barangay Umiray, General Nakar Quezon Province prompted the Provincial Government of Quezon (PGQ) to order the stoppage of implementation of the Sumag River Diversion Project (SRDP). The diversion structure then had been excavated, and one-half of the 600-meter tunnel has been completed.
MWSS’ tried hard to get the project up and going again as further deferment would mean higher standby cost due to project suspension and water insecurity to the 16.9 million customers under MWSS’ administrative jurisdiction. Moreover, the impact of the 2019 El Niño on the level of the Angat Reservoir could have been lessened if the additional water supply from Sumag River has been made available.
MWSS’ hopes upped for the SRDP, a Water Security Project included in the Government’s flagship infrastructure project, when President Duterte pushed to greenlight the project in November 2019. Significant steps in the permitting approvals took a milestone this 2nd quarter of 2020 when the PGQ and the DENR thru the Provincial Mining and Regulatory Board (PMRB), granted the Gratuitous Permit to extract and dispose of sand and gravel (Quarry Permit), which was filed way back September 2015 and re-applied on 15 February 2017. Also, the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples, during its en banc meeting held on 1 August 2020, approved the issuance of Certificate of Precondition as part of the requirement of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent of the Indigenous Cultural Communities/ Indigenous Peoples. The signing by President Duterte of the Administrative Order No. 32 entitled “Expediting the review and approval process of Infrastructure Flagship Projects on Water Security” on 26 August 2020 gave further assurance for this legacy project to materialize.
Interconnection of the branch tunnel from Sumag River to the existing Umiray-Angat-Transbasin tunnel, will shorten the refilling period of the Angat Dam by diverting inflows to the reservoir by 188 Million Liters per Day (MLD) or 2.2 Cubic meters per second (CMS) raw water. SRDP is thus the most viable option to augment raw water supply and solve the water shortages in the near-term.
Preparatory activities such as excavation works at the tunnel intake and apron structure, pump concrete base, etc. were already started, but barging activities for transport of major equipment and materials can only be done in the summer of next year. The project can be completed by the 2nd quarter of 2022, barring any unforeseen event.
The MWSS Concessionaires jointly funds the SRDP through the Common Purpose Facilities.