MCWD awaits LWUA approval for water tariff increase
CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) is still awaiting the approval of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) for its proposed 60 percent water tariff increase.
In a press conference on Thursday, June 1, 2023, MCWD general manager and lawyer Jose Daluz III said the board and the management of the MCWD still have to talk about how to sustain the increasing expenses of the water utility pending the LWUA approval on the proposed water tariff increase and the incoming additional desalinated water supply this year.
“[There are] two scenarios: we are already waiting for the increase, wa ko kahibaw kanus-a, [if] ma delay, [and] wa ko kahibaw until when mi magsige og absorb [sa expenses]. If naa na sad ang increases, are we going to implement dayon? We have not talked about it pa tungod kay wa pa man poy approval sa increase,” Daluz told reporters.
Daluz said they are expecting to hear from LWUA’s decision by this month or July.
To recall, MCWD has proposed a 60 percent water tariff increase to cover the expenses of the ongoing projects and signed contracts for upcoming projects of the MCWD.
Daluz is considering the change of LWUA’s management board as among the possible factors why MCWD’s application for an increase has not been decided.
Pending the approval of the water tariff increase, the MCWD is shouldering the increase in its expenses for procuring bulk water supplies from private companies (through joint venture agreements) to narrow the gap between supply and demand in its franchise area.
“That’s a risk we have to take, kay until now, wala pa man g’yoy abiso ang LWUA that they are taking up our application for [an] increase,” he said.
For instance, MCWD pays the operator of Lusaran Bulk Water P65 per cubic meter but only sells it for P48 per cubic meter for commercial use and around P15 per cubic meter to its household consumers.
“Karon, ang among nasabutan sa atong mga MCWD management and employees is that for a few months, we will have to absorb the payment of these expensive water kay we want to address ang katawhan nga there is already water before we increase. Karon, nihatag na ta sa Lusaran,” Daluz said.
Presently, MCWD charges P15.20 per cubic meter for the first 10 cubic meters in one month.
MCWD is allowed to increase its tariff every five years. But the last time that it implemented an increase in water rate was still in 2015.
The water facility has put off increasing its water rates in the past few years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Daluz, however, said that even with the impending increase in water rates, MCWD still has one of the cheapest rates nationwide.
“As of now, the same gihapon ang tariff until we will have the increase, but to tell you honestly, the MCWD cannot sustain aning ingani nga we would not increase, nga we have water coming nga very expensive,” he said.
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