By Edgar Alejo
LEGAZPI CITY --- The Legazpi City Water District (LCWD) is set to raise its water rates starting next month.
LCWD Customer Accounts Division officer-in-charge Richard Atun in an interview Tuesday said the current rates could no longer meet the increasing cash requirements of the water district in its operation and maintenance.
The last water rates hike was in 2010 and there’s now a need for additional funds to carry out projects that would improve water supply facilities and expand services, Atun said.
When the water rates increase takes effect, there will be at least 10 percent increase for 0-30 cubic meters’ consumption. One cubic meter is equivalent to 1,000 liters. So, a minimum consumption of 10 cu. m. or 10,000 liters will amount to 2 centavos per liter for residential connections using the new rates.
With the new rates, the LCWD expects about P281 million in revenues this year. Last year’s collections totaled P248 million while disbursements reached P250 million.
The LCWD is a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC) and yet it does not receive subsidy from the national and local government units. The funds being used for its operation and projects only come from bill collections from consumers using and consuming LCWD’s water supply.
In her presentation, Engr. Barbie Vonette Borromeo, engineering and operations department manager, said that for the past three years, the LCWD has invested P82 million in its water supply development projects, including reduction of non-revenue water – P5.26 million; effective pressure management – P5.5 million; and growth in service connection – P7.27 million.
The LCWD would also invest some P608 million in future projects until 2021 which will include expansion of water coverage and building up service capacity, she said.
The water rates increase was not met with resistance from the consumers. However, complaints about low supply, bad odor, presence of rust and sand in tap water, as well as water potability were raised.
Arch. Ranulfo Imperial, LCWD Board chair, said they have been pressuring PhilHydro to cope up with the demand for clean and safe water. He said the management had even threatened to tap other bulk suppliers if it fails to improve water quality.
PhilHydro which has been depending on Yawa as its source, was questioned before when the supposed water rates increase in 2013 did not push through due to water quality problems. Maynilad reportedly intervened when tests were conducted by the University of the Philippines and the Department of Health.
Since the LCWD was established in 1981 with only close to 500 residential consumers, it is now servicing some 23,000 households, or a population of 135,718 all over the city. It currently supplies 33.93 million liters per day.