Water sector reform implies that citizens pay for the service

As part of the efforts to reorganize the water sector in the Dominican Republic, the Government is proposing the design of a plan to reduce the levels of water served and not billed to the population and industries, which currently fluctuates between 45% and 95% among the various suppliers at the national level.

President Luis Abinader delivered to the Economic and Social Council (CES) a “National Commitment for a Pact for Water”, in which the need to design a unified tariff policy for drinking water and sanitation to achieve the financial sustainability of the service providers and the financing of hydraulic infrastructure works for the same sector is proposed.

This requires the approval of a Drinking Water and Sanitation Law (APS), which would establish prices and billing modalities, according to Felipe Suberví (Fellito), director of the Water and Sewerage Corporation of Santo Domingo (CAASD).

But the expansion of the number of consumers who will pay for water will not have to wait for the new law, as the CAASD is moving forward with preparations to put metering equipment out to tender.

Suberví assured that in 15 to 20 days the tender for smart meter equipment will be ready. He indicated that the institution carries out a census to identify each dwelling, and that as of 2022 it will begin to invest half of its budget in automation equipment that will allow it to obtain data on the amount of water produced and distributed in each locality.

“Everyone has to pay for water. Just as we citizens demand, we have to pay,” said the official. He describes as unacceptable the price of RD$6 per cubic meter charged to homes, and the RD$8 paid by industries. In the latter case, the State subsidizes more than RD$30 per cubic meter of water.

Several companies in the business
In order to get the State to charge for water, it will be necessary to get out of the game private companies that currently perform these functions under the cover of contracts they signed with past administrations. Suberví explained that, in the case of the National District, it was possible to rescind the contract, but in Santo Domingo East they will have to wait for it to expire. In any case, they have managed to increase billing from RD$20 million to RD$40 million in that municipality thanks to an increase in water production and the CAASD’s involvement with the collection company, according to Suberví.

“Everyone has to pay for water. Just as we citizens demand, we have to pay.”

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