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Utility mum on proposed water rate increase, say

One good news for water consumers amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19): the board of directors (BOD) of the Davao City Water District (DCWD) have not pushed for the implementation of the proposal to increase the rates by 60% this year.

“No word from the BOD,” was the reply from lawyer Bernardo D. Delima Jr., spokesperson of the water district when TIMES asked him to comment on the proposal that it was supposed to submit to the Local Water Utilities Administration early this year.

Last year, Delima said that without the water rate increase, the utility would be on a deficit this year because its projected revenue for the year was only P2.7 billion, as its annual operational expenses could hit P2.3 billion while its capital outlay for the year was planned at P1.7 billion.

This came about as the water utility’s policy makers were reported to have finalized the proposal to determine the level of increase that it would want to implement as it reasoned out that the last time it requested the rate increase was 15 years ago the last part of it was implemented in 2013.

At present, residential consumers pay P162.5 for the first 10 cubic meters, including the P25 for meter maintenance charge.

Delima also confirmed that all activities related to the P2 billion project of the utility to complement the bulk water project have been stopped.

“Everything is on hold during the ECQ (enhanced community quarantine),” he said, adding that only “essential repair crew and wells operator were allowed to report physically. Our contractors stopped its operations.”

Earlier, the company implementing the bulk water project was still evaluating the impact of the virus on the P12 billion project.

Cirlio C. Almario III, manager of the Apo Agua Infrastructura Inc., said that the company, a consortium of Aboitiz Equity Ventures and JV Angeles Construction Corp. with the water district as the buyer, is also formulating “a recovery plan that can be implemented once ECQ is lifted” as the target to complete the project is on the first six months of next year.

Under the agreement between the water district and the company, the project will supply 126 million cubic meters annually to augment the production of the water district as the demand would hit 137 million cubic meters next year especially if the new real property development projects are completed, about 120 of them.

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