Minimum water rate in Kidapawan to increase by 30%

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/ 01 February) – The minimum water rate here will increase by 30 percent, or from P156.60 to P204.50 for the first 10 cubic meters of monthly consumption, an official of the Metro Kidapawan Water District (MKWD) said.

Coming 18 years after the previous increase, the measure is intended to defray capital expenditures, operating and maintenance costs and debt servicing, MKWD assistant general manager Engineer Wilisper Alqueza said.

Residents of Makilala, North Cotabato fetch free water from a source opened by the Metro Kidapawan Water District on Friday (1 November 2019) after regular water supply was disrupted following the the magnitude 6.5 quake that hit North Cotabato the day before. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

Alqueza explained that part of the rate adjustment will be used to cover costs for the repairs of their damaged facilities, and reconstruction of new pipelines as a result of the recent earthquakes.

Data showed that the October 2019 strong quakes damaged four of MKWD’s surface water sources, five spring sources, and five major reservoirs, with a total production loss of 87.14 percent.

The cost of the damage was estimated at P82.7 million, the data added.

Most of the sources are located at the foot of Mount Apo, the country’s highest peak.

“With only 12.86 percent left from our water sources, how can we give our concessionaires safe and potable water? So we need funds for the repairs and reconstruction of facilities. One of the sources for these funds would come from the water rate hike,” said Alqueza.

He added that debt servicing is another reason for the impending increase.

The MKWD has 37,407 water connections, as of January 31, 2020.

In 2019, the MKWD applied for a loan at the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) amounting to P561 million payable in 20 years at 4-percent annual interest rate.

Alqueza said the biggest bulk of the loan would be used to construct new facilities worth P240.9 million.

Other projects include source development worth P136.38 million, construction of transmission lines, P15.4 million, main and distribution lines, P117.25 million, rehabilitation of damaged facilities, P29.1 million, and system upgrading, P22.4 million.

In her Facebook page, MKWD general manager said technical personnel from LWUA and Asian Development Bank visited their office from January 20 to 24 and finalized on January 31 the documents needed for the loan.

Alqueza clarified it was “high time” they made some changes in their rate.

“For 18 years, we have charged our concessionaire the lowest rate, so far, in the whole Mindanao,” he said.

The Malaybalay City Water District’s monthly minimum rate currently stands at P120 for the first 10 cubic meters consumption, or P36.60 lower than MKWD’s.

Alqueza said the LWUA has already granted their request for rate adjustment in 2019.

On February 24, the MKWD will start its 5-day public hearing to explain to their concessionaires the reasons for the rate adjustment, he said. (Malu Cadeliña-Manar/MindaNews)