Aging Angat Dam collapse feared if “Big One” strikes

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In the wake of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Japan late last week, Bulacan residents called on the government to check the structural integrity of the almost 48-year-old Angat Dam that sits along the West Valley Fault line.

They feared the aging dam could collapse should the feared “Big One” or a powerful earthquake occur once the West Valley Fault Line moves. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology recently warned that the fault line is ripe for movement.

Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado said in case the Angat Dam breaks, not only the entire province of Bulacan would be wiped out but also large parts of Pampanga and Metro Manila.

Local engineers had long pointed out the need to visit the structural integrity of the dam that was built in October 1967. The governor raised anew the alert during his meeting with various Bulacan village chiefs.

30-meter-high waters will be spilled from Angat once it breaks as a result of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. The rampaging waters will totally destroy villages lying on its path.

“If the dam breaks, will you still hide under the table? How can you escape rampaging waters whose speed is like a bullet and will bring big boulders and illegally cut logs?” Alvarado said.

The governor said that unless the old Angat Dam is repaired and strengthened, it will always be like the “Sword of Damocles” hanging over the heads of Bulacan residents and people of the National Capital Region.

Even if Metro Manila survived the powerful earthquake,” Alvarado said its residents might die of thirst as Angat Dam supplies more than 90% of Metro Manila’s water needs.

Angat Dam is now privately-owned. A Korean firm, in partnership with a Filipino company, started management of the dam on November 1, 2014.

Governor Sy-Alvarado is urging the Aquino administration to press the dam’s new owner, K-Water Company, to start the rehabilitation of Angat to avert massive disaster once the “Big One” strikes