Higher water rates loom in Metro Cebu

Average consumption charges by July 2023 will be roughly 60 per cent of current bill.


COMMUNAL FAUCET | Potable water is not available at all hours in many areas and households in Metro Cebu. It got scarcer after Typhoon Odette (international name: Rai) devastated Cebu in December 2021. Some residents line up at a communal faucet opened by Metropolitan Cebu Water District to allow residents of Barangay Labangon, Cebu City, to have drinking water, in the aftermath of the typhoon. (Photo by NESTLE SEMILLA / Inquirer Visayas)

July 25, 2022

CEBU CITY, Cebu, Philippines — Residents of Metro Cebu were told to brace for higher water bills starting in the middle of next year.

The Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) has announced the need to increase its water rates to “sustain its operations.”

“We have been absorbing the increasing operational costs and our reserved funds are already depleted,” said MCWD board of directors chair Jose Daluz III in a statement.

“We really need this adjustment in order to continue our operation. We are not profit-oriented. This is only for us to continue operating and serving our consumers,” he added.

The two phases of the water rate increase will be imposed in July 2023 and in July 2024, which is roughly more than 60 percent of its existing rate this year at P15.20 per cubic meter. Its new rate next year will be P25.05 per cubic meter.

On hold for 7 years
MCWD said that an average household subscribed to the water district normally consumes 21 cubic meters of water per month. Its water bill at present is P430.99.

In the proposed adjustment, the same household will now have to pay a bill of P561.90. In 2024, the same household will have a water bill of P617.36 for a 21-cubic-meter consumption.

The last time MCWD implemented a water increase was over seven years ago, on Jan. 1, 2015, even though the Local Water Utilities Administration allows water districts to apply for a rate adjustment every five years.

“MCWD opted to put it on hold in 2020 in consideration of the crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the water utility firm said.

It also said that it had spent P2.1 billion over the last seven years on its expansion and rehabilitation projects and another P12 billion on operational expenses.

These projects include the P1.1-billion Lusaran Bulk Water Project, located in the upland village of Lusaran in Cebu City, which is expected to deliver 15,000 cubic meters of water per day on Sept. 4 this year.

“This project will directly benefit the residents of barangays Busay, Lahug, Apas, Camputhaw, and Capitol Site, which are considered underserved due to the lack of water supply, as well as nine mountain barangays that are not yet served by MCWD,” the water district said, referring to the villages in Cebu City.

At present, MCWD is producing 232 million liters of water per day (MLD), according to Daluz.

The number, he said, is short of the needed water supply of around 600 MLD for the water district’s franchise area.

The MCWD franchise area covers the cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, and Talisay and the metropolitan towns of Liloan, Compostela, Consolacion, and Cordova.

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