DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/15 April) – The Davao City Water District (DCWD) is planning to increase its water rates due to the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law and to support the utility’s expansion plans.
Lawyer Bernardo D. Delima, DCWD spokesperson, told a press briefing on Monday that they would strive to arrive at an increase that is fair to both the consumers and the water utility.
“We are at the in-house level. We are examining how much it will be, what is the right rate. On our part, we do not want to overburden the public,” he said.
He said the DCWD also saw the need to increase the water rates as the imposition of the new tax rates had also jacked up the cost of inputs of the utility, and it might not be able to fund its expansion plans without such increase.
He said the DCWD is “absorbing” the effect of the TRAIN Law on its operation.
Delima said among their considerations is that the increase should not exceed 60 percent of the current rate, which is P137 for the first 10 cubic meters of monthly consumption, and the minimum rate should not exceed 5 percent of the income of minimum wage earners.
He said when the Local Water Utilities Administration approved 60 percent of the proposed water rate increase of the DCWD in 2005, the water utility had implemented it in tranches, 30 percent on the first year and 10 percent annually from 2012 to 2014.
He said a non-approval of the water rate increase would delay the implementation of the DCWD projects that are already in the pipeline.
“We need to consider we will be needing to expand our water system. We only covered 70 percent in the urban area. We need to expand our water supply pipes in areas that we do not reach,” he said, adding the expansion of the pipelines is a continuous process because of the growing demand for water here.
“Dili pasabot nga nahuman namo ang pipe lane pasagdan na mo na (It doesn’t mean that after we have completed the improvement of our pipe lane, we can now leave it as is). Sooner, it will be replaced by another one,” he said.
He added smaller pipes would have to be replaced with bigger ones in preparation for the P12-billion Davao City Bulk Water Supply Project of the Apo Agua Infrastructura Inc., a joint venture between Aboitiz Equity Ventures and J.V. Angeles Construction Corporation.
Based on the joint venture agreement, the Apo Agua will take charge of water extraction and treatment and DCWD the water distribution. The project can supply over 300 million liters of potable water daily upon its completion in 2021.
The DCWD has 220,000 service connections at present.
Data released by the DCWD indicated that average water consumption of the city is around 220 million liters of water daily.
DCWD has an average daily production of 306 million liters. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)