City okays entry of new water supplier

A new private company is expected to begin operations as a direct competitor of the Dumaguete City Water District within the next two years or sooner.

Last week, the City Council passed an ordinance “granting authority to Primwater Infrastructure Corporation to construct, commission, establish, operate and maintain a water distribution system to service the consumers of Dumaguete City” in the next 25 years.

Among the councilors present only Alan Cordova opposed the ordinance while all the other members voted in favor. But two other Councilors namely Estanislao Alviola and Jose Victor Imbo abstained or out during voting.

Under the ordinance, Primwater must provide dependable, safe, reliable water supply and distribution system to afford consumers and residents an alternative to the service of DCWD.

For a number of decades, DCWD has monopolized the water supply in the city, however, complaints have mount over poor service, low or absent supply of water particularly during peak hours or midnight and declining state of infrastructure.

Ostensibly to improve its dire situation, DCWD has accepted the offer of a private company to take over 80% of its operations and management with a promised infusion of over P 1 billion fresh capital to rehabilitate the assets of the supposedly Government Owned and Controlled Corporation.

Unless stopped by the court, DCWD’s privatization will proceed amid fears that the private company’s desire to recoup its investment would lead to an increase in water bills.

In contrast, Primewater will invest in modern infrastructure, piping, reservoir and other facilities to supply clean and potable water to every home or establishment at an affordable rate. It will also pay the city government a fee corresponding to P 1.00 per cubic meter consumed, business permit and real property tax.

A Memorandum of Agreement will still be signed between the City Government and Primewater that would provide for the detailed terms, stipulations and conditions attached to the grant and enjoyment of a franchise.  Finally, Primewater must still secure all necessary permits from other regulatory agencies before it is allowed to operate.