CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY: A new stakeholder in the bulk water supply business has offered cheaper water rates while complying with the required water consumption of the city’s more than 700,000 residents.
Councilor Bong Lao said the management of the Cagayan de Oro Water Technology Corp. (COWTC) told the local legislative body that the company can provide as much bulk water as needed by the city’s growing population for only P8 to P10 per cubic meter.
Raleigh Velez, COWTC chief executive officer, made the disclosure during the city council’s regular session on Monday.
Velez said COWTC incorporators are hydrologists with over 30 years of experience in the operation and installation of various bulk water supply companies in the country.
He added that the company will use the deep-well process of extracting twice as many cubic meters of water and at a much lower cost than the current contractors are supplying to the Cagayan de Oro Water District (COWD).
“The company is using the state-of-the-art technologies from Australia and the US like fiber optics in locating and in the extraction of underground water,” Velez said.
Lao said, however, that while the local legislative body is ecstatic about the offer, there is still a need to determine the validity of the claim, particularly the financial capability and the credibility of the company’s technology.
He said that the local legislative body invited more players in the bulk water supply industry after local consumers protested the rates offered by the new contracting party supplying the bulk water needs of the COWD.
The city council will invite COWD management and engineers to conduct verification and validation of the claims of the COWTC during the regular session next week.
The COWD is a quasi-government body, which manages and supervises the distribution of the household needs of more than 95,000 water consumers in the city’s east and west districts.
Lao said the City Council took the cudgels for local water consumers after the COWD signed a partnership contract with Metro Pacific Investment Corp. (MIPC) without an appropriate public hearing and under “dubious” circumstances.
Under the COWD-MIPC contract, the latter would supply one million liters of water per day (100,000 cubic meters) to the water district at a rate of P16 per cubic meter of water.
Lao said the contract appeared suspicious because the latter would also procure the bulk water supply from the Rio Verde Water Consortium Inc., the current contractor supplying 40,000 cubic meters of bulk water to the COWD.
“It turns out that the [MIPC] has controlled the Rio Verde operation since two years ago. This is awkward because the COWD has contracted the two companies owned by the same incorporators,” he added.
Lao said the city council committee on public utilities has filed a case with the local court to revoke the COWD-MIPC contract signed on August 15, 2017 in Makati City.