…it’s bad enough that the faultline exists; but it’s worse when you’re clueless where.
Worst, one can never ever see this coming.
Below is a 3D virtual survey of Wawa Dam in the Google Earth app environment.
It started as an accident. After posting my reply to a comment inquiring how safe Eastwood Greenview in regard to its proximity to Wawa Dam and La Mesa Dam, and giving some time in the process to create the graphics for the post, I had already become familiar with the location of Wawa Dam as being near the end and tip of the shorter East Valley Fault.
When one day, while investigating a curiosity that puzzled me about an unknown fault line, like why every so often my blog’s dashboard captures search words of people looking for the “Antipolo Fault Line” and through which they are brought to my site….
…I stumbled on a series of bizarre discoveries –one after another– that hold answer to some very important mysteries.
At first I kept telling myself, “there is no such thing as an Antipolo Fault Line!” Or is there? To find out, I rummaged around the Phivolcs web site and came across this (downloaded and edited with my marginal note)…
A close-up view…
Up to now and every time i see it, it makes me say repeatedly, “What the heck?”
There it is! Hidden in plain sight. Published but unnamed out there in the Net. Yet they are not telling the public. Not one but two fault lines that appear to join or intersect with the East Valley Fault, but stop short from actually touching at some hidden junction –except for those two obscure, previously unknown (at least to most of us) fault lines that actually do intersect!
Then it kicks in: short, red vertical line at left that i have come to memorize as the East Valley Fault. At that point i recognized that just a little to the right on the map from the tip of the lesser known East Valley Fault is the WAWA DAM!
To revisit the title of this post and echo it in its intended entirety: “WHAT THE HECK IS AN OLD, ABANDONED, AND VERY SLOWLY DETERIORATING DAM DOING IN THE GENERAL AREA OF OR ON THE LAP OF THREE FAULT LINES?
It’s a good thing with Google Earth, you can stick a pin on a target when you are up close. And when you zoom-out, the pin identifies the same spot when viewed even from a great virtual height. At this point before I could pursue this new discovery, I realized my aim why i was doing some sleuthing was to find out if an Antipolo Fault Line exists, and IT DOES; despite the absence of its official name on the Phivolcs map. Definitely, i wasn’t looking for a potential disaster waiting to happen in the form of a gravity dam!
I guess it begs to be asked, what’s a Wawa Dam? Where can one find it? What about that legend associated with it? Why the strong clamor to reuse the decommissioned dam for water supply, but the clamor keeps getting denied?
With the following, I rely on others in the Net for info instead of repeating what they may also have repeated from others who may also have repeated from somebody else …and so on and on and on and on:
Some Facts about Wawa Dam
Wawa Dam (also known as Montalban Dam) is a gravity dam constructed over the Marikina River in the municipality of Rodriguez in Rizal province, Philippines. The slightly arched dam is situated in the 360-metre (1,180 ft) high Montalban Gorge or Wawa Gorge, a water gap in the Sierra Madre Mountains, east of Manila. It was built in 1909 during the American colonial era to provide the water needs for Manila. It used to be the only source of water for Manila until Angat Dam was built and Wawa was abandoned. Due to insufficiency of water supply for Metro Manila, there was a strong clamor to reuse the dam.
The Wawa Dam was famous for being the site of Bernardo Carpio’s legend….
Legend has it, at the time of Spanish Era, Bernardo Carpio was trapped between two great rocks. An /engkantado/ (or some say an /albularyo/) planned to trap him. They induced him to go to the mountains of Montalban, Rizal. When he was in the middle of the two mountains, the /engkantado/ caused the two to grind with each other. Some legends say he was killed after that, others say he survived but struggling to push away the two mountains. According to the locals, whenever he moves an earthquake comes (for me it is because the legend is set in the West Valley Fault System (sic) where earthquakes often occur).
The Wawa Mountain is located behind the Wawa Dam. Legend says that a strong man named Bernardo Carpio was considered to be the strong giant who was trapped between these two mountains. Having shrugged his shoulders, the story continues with the Bernardo Carpio causing the earthquake in Montalban.
The twin Mountains, Mt. Pamitinan and Mt. Binacayan, are situated in Sitio Wawa, Brgy. San Rafael Extension, Rodriguez, Rizal (formerly known as Montalban). These two mountains are home of the famous legend of Bernardo Carpio. According to stories, he is a young man with unbelievable strength and power. He was trapped in two mountains of stones then used his bare hands, with power, to push the two mountains from apart from each other, making a gap in between. This gap is the spot where Wawa Dam is located.
(this one is interesting:)
I am referring to Wawa Dam in Rodriguez (formerly Montalban), Rizal. The MWSS itself tells us that Wawa is good for at least 50 million liters of water per day (MLD). That is enough to fill up the expected shortage this summer, but for some strange reason, the MWSS and the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) refuse to allow, for the last 13 years, San Lorenzo Ruiz Builders, which owns the water rights of Wawa, to harness it and start water flowing again to La Mesa Dam only four kilometers away. San Lorenzo is willing to spend for it; the government will not spend a single peso, but our water agencies play deaf and dumb, other media outlets play deaf and dumb and Malacañang has been playing deaf, dumb and blind. For 13 years, I was a voice lost in the wilderness crying? Harness Wawa Dam, Harness Wawa Dam!? Wawa, after all, was the lone supplier of water to Manila from 1908. In 1968, when Angat Dam was finished, Wawa was decommissioned. But the supply from Angat is no longer sufficient, so why not harness Wawa again, I kept saying, to supply the expected shortages every summer?
By definition, myths hold nothing true at all, but legends hinge on some small grain of truth that really happened from some distant past. It could be that long ago, before the Marikina River started flowing, there was a strong earthquake that split a mountain and shook the ground. In time the river that run through the gap between the split mountain was plugged up to become what we know now as Wawa Dam. Possible. Who knows? It seems in every version of the Bernardo Carpio legend, there is an earthquake event associated with it.
Wait a minute! Let’s backtrack a little. I got side-tracked here. I began investigating the so-called Antipolo Fault Line and ended up discovering that Wawa Dam is very likely built atop a fault line. This is what I may call my Wawa Dam epiphany. Truth to tell, at that point the experience gave birth to another epiphany with a sobering realization that there is indeed a fault line running through the mountains of Antipolo. Both these went on in my head at the same time. But i would digress much if i discuss the other epiphany here (actually there are three in all).
Going back, i find uncanny that three fault lines converge. By the looks of it, the East Valley Fault seems more a part of the two unnamed fault lines than it is traditionally associated and paired with the West Valley Fault. Some kind of tectonic force seems to join these three cracks on the earth at some certain break point.
Now overlaying the Phivolcs map with the high tech satellite maps of Google Earth, and using Laguna de Bay (that three-toed dinosaur footprint of a lake) to align many, different points round its shore to create a faithful overlay of the maps, there is no doubt that Wawa Dam is built on top of at least one of these fault lines!
Would you believe I had another epiphany and I just dropped a clue there? Perhaps you would never guess in a million years, granting you’re not in the know with the secretive circle of scientists who are keeping mum, if not toning down, the amount of information the public is allowed to know (really)!
But, really, we don’t need a fault line to sound an alarm that an abandoned dam raises a red flag.
Can it be called the height of stupidity to build a dam and just abandon it when it outlives its purpose?
It is much like the landmine problem of Cambodia. 50 years after its civil war, land mines continue to kill and maim people, with an estimated 6 million hidden devices still waiting to be detonated. The Wawa Dam is a disaster waiting happen. Built over a century ago and long abandoned to the elements of water and crumbling decay, the Wawa Dam may one day crumble and collapse on its weight in its sorry state with or without help from a fault line.
The Americans built the dam in 1909, and maybe one cannot blame them for building the structure on a fault line out of sheer ignorance and lack of sophisticated scientific instruments. But in 1968, when the Angat Dam was finished to deliver the new water supply for Metro Manila, Wawa Dam was decommissioned and …just abandoned. Now there you have a landmine that is just waiting to be stepped on!
Sure, the sign above says the area where the dam is located was declared a GOVERNMENT RESERVATION AREA. However, it is such a quirky sign: a “Ministry” of Natural Resources? Maybe that sign was put up over 40 years ago when we last had a parliamentary form of government, and when every government department today was then called a ministry (talk about an abandoned dam where one finds an official government message that is outdated).
For a declared reservation area, I can only wonder if tight security measures are enforced with soldiers or the police or at least security guards providing strict monitoring to prevent any untoward incident that can happen like the dam collapsing in a wild country that is still New People’s Army rebel territory….
I just realized: does this count as another burst of epiphany?
The wise thing to do is for the present government to undertake a long-term project that will systematically dismantle the stones of the dam one by one from top to bottom, letting the water on the deep side to recede slowly –maybe even to take years for the deep end to come down to the level of the other side of the dam without inflicting too much ecological damage to the natural environment.