NorthCot water consumers demand stable supply, quality service

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 25 Feb) – Majority of the concessionaires who attended the public hearings called for by the Metro Kidapawan Water District (MKWD) urged the agency to assure them of continued water supply and quality service once the proposed water rate adjustment takes place in May.

Water supply in Kidapawan and neighboring areas are severel affected by the series of earthquakes late last year. MindaNews file photo by MANMAN DEJETO

On the first day of the five-day consultations that started Monday, a senior citizen expressed his frustration over the dismal performance of the water district for its failure to provide his family and his community in Poblacion a 24-hour water supply.

MKWD assistant general manager Sandy Alqueza explained to the participants that their primary reason for increasing rates is for the agency to be able to develop potential water sources, like deep wells, springs, rivers and streams.

He admitted the agency is bereft of funds to pursue such plans.

The series of strong quakes in October that hit parts of North Cotabato damaged almost all of the facilities of the MKWD, Alqueza said. He estimated the damage at P82.7 million.

This, he explained, resulted to significant loss of their daily production.

Data from MKWD showed that after the series of quakes late last year, at least 85 percent of the 43.2-million liters per day of their production were lost.

“We understand our concessionaires’ woes because of these quakes. But who among us would want these things to happen? No one. So we’re asking for understanding, that’s why this adjustment can help us gain from our losses,” stressed Alqueza.

The minimum water rates of MKWD would increase by P47.90 starting April this year or from P156.60 to P204.50 per 10 cubic meters’ monthly consumption.

MKWD General Manager Stella Gonzales said they petitioned for rate adjustment only after 18 years.

“Our water connections are increasing in a fast pace. But we can’t expand because of limited sources,” she explained.

On Monday, the MKWD started its five-day public hearings on its proposed water rate adjustment.

Present during the consultation was a representative from the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA).

According to the MKWD legal counsel, lawyer Cristopher Cabilen, the public consultation is an important requisite before the agency is allowed to increase its water rates.

The consultation will be completed in at least nine clusters from different areas in Kidapawan City, Matalam, Magpet, and Makilala in North Cotabato on March 2. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)