What If the Big One Hits Metro Manila and Its Dams Collapse as a Tsunami Rolls in from Manila Bay? Print
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Sections - Ecology and the Environment
Written by Bobby M. Reyes   
Monday, 21 March 2011 12:27

Part V of the Series, “Filipino Armageddon”


Should the Filipino People and their Government Not Heed the Advice and Warning of Engr. Mon Ramirez?

Can these dams withstand a Japan 3-11 earthquake and not crumble down and flood the communities downstream like a tsunami? – Engr. Mon Ramirez


T hus, under the heading “Earthquakes and dams,” Mon Ramirez, a University of the Philippines (UP) trained engineer, posted on the Facebook last Monday, March 14, 2011, at 5:26 p.m.: “We have no nuclear power plant but we have more than 30 hydro-power plants with their associated dams that supply most of our electricity in combination with some geothermal plants and fossil-powered plants.


“Can these dams withstand a Japan 3-11 earthquake and not crumble down and flood the communities downstream like a tsunami? Two years ago, during a storm, when San Roque dam had to suddenly release some water, the devastation and deaths in the Pangasinan were record high. The warning system did not work well, too, resulting in more deaths.


“Maybe today is the best time for the government and engineers and scientists to take a truly hard look at these dams and review contingencies if there are any in place. So far we have been quite lucky with just those minor earthquakes.”


Today, Engineer Ramirez posted also in his Facebook page a notification about a “FORUM on Earthquake, Tsunami and Nukes” that will be held at the UP Balay Kalinaw on March 23, Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.


I requested Mon Ramirez to tell the forum participants about my series on the “Filipino Armageddon,” including this Part V, which starts with a quote from him. He replied that he would bring it to the attention of the people attending the forum.


Metro Manila Dams and Reservoirs


M on Ramirez has a very-good point – from the technical viewpoint. His advice for the government, (private-sector’s) engineers and scientists to inspect the dams and review the contingencies can be considered a moral imprimatur to this series of articles.


The National Capitol Region (NCR) and the adjoining provinces of Bulacan and Rizal have four dams: the Laiban, the Angat, Ipo and the La Mesa. Metro Manila has also the Balara reservoir.


The Laiban Dam is still being constructed and is due to be finished in 2015. It is located in Tanay town of Rizal Province, which is now part of the NCR.


Many towns in Bulacan Province are now parts of the NCR. Bulacan is the site of the 44-year-old Angat Dam (located in Norzagaray town, which was finished in 1967). It is a rockfill-type of a dam. It has also the 27-year-old Ipo Dam (located just a few kilometers before the Angat Dam) and which was completed in 1984. The Ipo is a gravity-concrete dam.


There is also the La Mesa Dam located in the Novaliches District of Quezon City, which is the biggest component of the NCR in land area. It is a so-called “earth dam” that was erected in 1929 (82-years ago) and occupies an area of 27-square kilometers. It was improved and its level was raised in 1959 (52-years ago). It has now a water capacity of 50.5-million cubic meters.


Quezon City has also the Balara Water-Treatment Plant, which is actually a reservoir that has an original capacity of 25-million liters. A new reservoir was built in 2008, so as to increase the capacity to 45-million liters. The La Mesa Dam contains also a water-treatment facility. Several aqueducts connect the Balara and La Mesa infrastructures.


More technical information about the dams and reservoirs of Metro Manila can be found in


The Concerns of Engineer Ramirez


W hat if a 9.0-magnitude quake hits the NCR and the four dams and the Balara reservoir and their aqueducts all suffer massive structural damages and all of their waters are released violently – just as a tsunami rolls in from the nearby Manila Bay? And what if the waters generated by the tsunami, when they recede to the Manila Bay, carry also the waters of Laguna de Bay and the waters from the four dams and one reservoir? Will it will be like three floods combining to form one big catastrophic event – the “mother of all tsunamis”? (The shocking scenario involves the Laguna de Bay, the NCR’s inland, and the Philippines’ biggest, lake, as stated in Part II of this series, forming a single body of water with Manila Bay.)


Laguna de Bay’s "surface area is 949 square kilometers and has an average depth of only about 2 meters. The lake is shaped like a stylised 'W', with two peninsulas jutting out from the northern shore. Between these peninsulas, the middle lobe fills a large volcanic caldera. Laguna de Bay drains to Manila Bay via the Pasig River." (Source of the data is the Wikipedia.)


Should the Philippine national government, the NCR local-government units (LGU) and the people not heed Engineer Ramirez’s suggestion?


Additional Concern of Mon Ramirez


T oday, Engineer Ramirez posted this message in the Facebook: “If you have read the studies of the Russian institute, their studies say that major earthquakes will occur in the two weeks starting March 19. Now, TV news here says there was an earthquake yesterday in the Ilocos region. Today the earthquake was near Metro Manila. But they are of moderate intensity. Here is the link to the report on the studies.”.


(To be continued . . .)


To view Part I, please click this link: A 9.0-Magnitude Quake Will Destroy Metro Manila and Kill At Least 5.53-million Inhabitants Even Without a Tsunami Following It


To read Part II, please go to: How and Why a 9.0-magnitude Quake May Wipe Out Metro Manila and Cause 5.530-million Deaths


Here is Part III: Mother Nature Has Spared Metro Manila of Big Quake As It Has Been the Epicenter Only in 1658 and 1771


Here’s Part IV of the “Filipino Armageddon” series: How Filipinos Can Mitigate the Unimaginable Damages that a “Mother of Natural Disasters” Will Cause



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Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 August 2013 19:38
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