CEBU City Mayor Michael L. Rama reiterates his call for the national government to build a dam behind the city for a reliable and sustainable water supply‘s distributor announced last week a plan to increase prices by 70% starting in July 2023.
“This issue brings forth what I have called for, namely the construction of a dam that collects abundant rainfall so that excess supply would mean lower prices for consumers,” Mr Rama said in a statement on Friday.
Citing a presentation by the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD), he said the planned tariff adjustment would mean an increase of 60% by July 2023 and 10% by July 2024.
The mayor noted that he originally proposed the dam project earlier this year after the city was among the areas hardest hit by Typhoon Odette in mid-December last year.
“Let’s refresh such a project. Since we first approached President (Rodrigo R.) Duterte after (Typhoon) Odette hit us hard, we will bring this project to the attention of President BBM (Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.) so that the national government can use its resources can help to recognize it,” he said.
The proposal also included the construction of surface water retention systems as part of the national government‘s “recovery aid” to the city.
Mr. Rama has also directed the city’s Department of Agriculture to work on building gabion dams in remote parts of the city, which would help slow the flow of water in storm drains or ditches.
He said this is part of the target achievements within his administration‘s first 100 days from July 1st.
He has also directed the City Council to hold public consultations on MCWD‘s planned rate hike.
The mayor also urged MCWD to reconsider its proposal and implement the increase over a longer period of time.
“I urge the MCWD Board to continue to review its planned introduction of new tariffs and consider adjustments only where necessary to avoid adverse effects on consumers through 2025.” he said.
MCWD, a self-sustaining state-owned and controlled company, last hiked interest rates in 2015.
Water districts are regulated by the local water board, including tariff setting.
The utility is currently constructing a £1.1 billion water supply project which is expected to be operational by September.
Cebu City, the regional hub of Central Visayas in the central Philippines, is part of the Metro Cebu area, which is the country’s second-largest borough after the metro Manila capital region. — MSJ