In order to sustain its operation, the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) is seeking a minimal water tariff adjustment which is expected to be implemented on July 1, 2023.
At present MCWD is collecting from residential connections a minimum water fee of P152 for the first 10 cubic meters of water consumed or P15.20 per cubic meter.
An average household connected to MCWD normally consumes 21 cubic meters of water per month. Its water fee is P399.80 or a total bill of P430.99 including other charges of P91.19 that covers franchise tax, power cost adjustment (PCA) and purchased water adjustment (PWA).
In the proposed adjustment, the same household will pay a water fee of P543.68 or a total bill of P561.90 including franchise tax of P10.87 and PWA of P7.35. PCA is already incorporated in the water fee of the proposed adjusted rates.
This means that for the first year of the adjustment implementation, the total bill difference between the present and the new rates is only P130.91 per month or P4.30 per day. In July 2024, the same household will have a total bill of P617.36 or a difference of P55.46 from the previous year.
For households that consume an average of seven cubic meters of water per month, its total bill with the present water rate is P183.17 a month including water fee of P152 and other charges of P31.17. When the adjustment is implemented next year, the total bill will be P250.21 that covers the water fee of P 243.20 and other charges of P7.31 or just a difference of P67.34 from the old rate.
MCWD’s water is potable and is sold at about P.040 per liter. Despite being the most important commodity, it remains the cheapest as compared to other household utilities like electricity at P13 per kwH, cellphone load at P600 per month, Internet bill at P1,200 per month or bottled water at P20 per liter.
The last MCWD water rate adjustment was implemented on Jan. 1, 2015 and even though the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) 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. During the lockdown, MCWD suspended water service disconnection and allowed partial payment of bill arrears.
This means that for the past seven years, MCWD has not implemented an adjustment in its water rates and has been absorbing the increasing operational expenses and purchased water costs ranging from P25 to P32 per cubic meter.
From 2015 to present, MCWD has spent P2.1 billion for its expansion and rehabilitation projects in order to serve its consumers better and another P12 billion for operational expenses.
One of its major projects is the P1.1-billion Lusaran Bulk Water Project which is expected to deliver 15,000 cubic meters of water per day on September 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.
With the supply from Lusaran, MCWD will have to absorb the high cost of water from September until end of June 2023 or about nine months as the water rate adjustment will only take effect in July. And even after the implementation of the adjustment, MCWD’s minimum water rate of P25.05 per cubic meter is still much lower than the actual cost of the purchased water.
“We have been absorbing the increasing operational costs and our reserved funds are already depleted. We really need this adjustment in order to continue with our operation. We are not profit-oriented. This is only for us to continue operating and serving our consumers,” MCWD Board of Directors Chairman Jose Daluz III explained.
MCWD is a government-owned and –controlled corporation and a non-profit entity. It is self-sustaining and does not receive funds from the local and national government.