The first public hearing will be held at the multipurpose gymnasium in Barangay Apas, Cebu City, at 10 a.m., said Minerva Gerodias, MCWD information officer.
MCWD will hold only one public hearing per local government unit (LGU) within its service area to address all those affected by its proposed tariff adjustment.
In the proposed adjustment, the average household would pay a water fee of P543.68 or a total bill of P561.90 per month including franchise tax of P10.87 and purchased water adjustment (PWA) of P7.35 beginning in mid-2023. Power cost adjustment (PCA) is already incorporated in the water fee of the proposed adjusted rates.
At present, MCWD collects 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 P339.80 or a total bill of P430.99 including other charges of P91.19 that covers franchise tax, PCA and PWA.
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.
Aside from in Barangay Apas in Cebu City, there will also be public hearings all slated this month in the seven other LGUs within MCWD’s service area — Talisay City on Nov. 15, Lapu-Lapu City on Nov. 17, Mandaue City on Nov. 24, Cordova on Nov. 22; Consolacion, Liloan and Compostela on Nov. 29.
Gerodias said they will conduct only one public hearing for the towns of Consolacion, Liloan and Compostela at a venue to be announced later since they have only a few MCWD customers there.
As of September 2022, MCWD had 203,399 customers.
According to MCWD, Cebu City has the most number of MCWD customers at 103,489 customers, followed by Mandaue City with 33,431 customers, Lapu-Lapu City with 18,093, Talisay City with 17,654, Liloan with 14,724, Consolacion with 12,498, Compostela with 2,420 and Cordova with 1,090.
In a statement, MCWD said the purpose of the public hearing is to inform its consumers of the proposed water tariff adjustment and its effects on their water bill.
MCWD said the public hearing is the first requirement set by the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), the regulating agency of all water districts, prior to the submission of the application of the proposed water tariff adjustment and their subsequent review and approval process.
A separate requirement that MCWD has complied with is the holding of consultative meetings with the barangay officials of Apas, Busay and Lahug, as well as with the major business groups of Cebu and the town and city officials of the LGUs within its service area.
Once it completes the public hearings in all LGUs under its service area, MCWD will submit its water tariff adjustment application before LWUA for evaluation, review and deliberation.
Once LWUA approves its proposal, MCWD will issue a notice of implementation to the general public.
The water district is looking to implement the tariff adjustment on July 1, 2023 in order to sustain its operations.
The last MCWD water rate adjustment was implemented on Jan. 1, 2015, and even though 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 disconnections and allowed partial payment of bill arrears.
Despite the devastation brought about by the pandemic, the onslaught of Typhoon Odette (Rai) and the ongoing global economic crisis caused by the war between Russia and Ukraine, MCWD did not stop improving its capabilities and services, the water utility said.
From 2015 to the present, MCWD said, it has added 80,000 cubic meters of water per day, installed 140 kilometers of new pipelines to reach more consumers, replaced 12 kilometers of dilapidated pipelines to improve efficiency, constructed a 1,000-cubic-meter reservoir in Oppra, Cebu City and added 57,000 new service connections.
To protect the environment, it is now operating two septage treatment plants located in San Miguel, Cordova and at the North Reclamation Area, Cebu City.
Over the period of seven years, it has spent P2.1 billion on infrastructure development and incurred P12 billion in operational expenses, MCWD said.
Just last year, it commissioned the Compostela Bulk Water Supply Project currently delivering 10,000 cubic meters per day to consumers in its northern service area. Last September, the P1.1 billion Lusaran Bulk Water Supply Project, which has a contract to deliver 15,000 cubic meters of water per day, was opened. This project will directly benefit the residents of barangays Busay, Lahug, Apas, Camputhaw and Capitol Site, and next year nine mountain barangays of Cebu City will also get water from this project.
Despite the recent developments, MCWD’s water tariff has remained the same for the past seven years, the utility said.
MCWD’s water is potable and is sold at about P.040 per liter.
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. (JKV, PR)