Climaco reiterates stand against water rates hike

“Not this time, when the city is experiencing water shortage and rationing.”

Thus, how Mayor Beng Climaco responded to queries on whether or not she would allow the Zamboanga City Water District (ZCWD) to implement its proposed water rates hike.

“As mayor of Zamboanga City, I cannot allow the water rates increase at this moment, considering the city is experiencing water rationing,” Climaco categorically stated at the press briefing yesterday morning.

She echoed the same statement during the water summit in the afternoon yesterday even as she pointed out that “we are open to help the ZCWD gain certain amount to produce wells…”

“But at this very moment, since we do not have water and there is scarcity of it, it is not proper to increase the rates of water,” she averred.

The mayor shared the view of the private/business sector to find out first how will the ZCWD divide is resources “so that we will be able to know where these increases will go.”

The mayor was saying that one of the causes of the water district’s financial burden is its system’s loss or the non-revenue water (NRW) being not fully maximized.

So much water wasted compounded by climate change resulting in water rationing, Climaco said. “To be efficient and sufficient, the ZCWD should and must always be at the helm of providing water.”

Initiated by the city government, the water summit was aimed at finding solutions to the current water shortage problem without increasing the rates.

Present were Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) Administrator Jeci A. Lapus, management officials from the ZCWD, Prime Water, Manila Water, city officials, the private and business sector, the industrial group, civic society organizations and other stakeholders.-(Vic Larato)