ETAPA water service is the only water in town (except for bottled water), so if like showers or baths, or just running water in general, ETAPA is where you need to go.
ETAPA has two treatment plants, El Cebollar in the northeast, and Tixán, also to the northeast. Together, they produce 1,500 liters per second, or about 6,000 gallons per second, of potable water.
There are also several smaller plants that supply the various rural areas that surround Cuenca.
Cuenca had a water shortage in late 2009, which emptied the reservoir that provided power for 35% of Ecuador. But there was always sufficient drinking water, as Cuenca has many internal and external storage tanks, holding well over 11,000 cubic meters (11 million liters) of potable water.
Prices are for cubic meters of water. Each cubic meter is the equivalent of 1,000 liters of water, or slightly more than 264 US gallons (or 220 Imperial gallons) of water.
The prices on the ETAPA web site are no longer accurate, but based on our past bills, you'll be hard-pressed to spend more than $10 per month on water, unless you like to fill the bathtub on a daily basis and water the gardens regularly.
Note: commercial rates are roughly double the residential rates.
ETAPA water service also includes sewage treatment. The price for this is 50% of your water use cost.
If you're buying your house or condo "used," be sure that you're not stuck paying the previous water bill, or any other bill for the house.
Most condo buildings have separate meters for each unit, so have the building manager take a reading for your unit on the day you move in.
Many condo buildings also have shared propane and hot water service to all units.
Be sure the manager takes readings on the gas and hot water use for your apartment as well.
If you're renting a house or apartment, the bill will be in the landlord's name. ETAPA doesn't put its service in a renter's name.
So your landlord will either include the water costs in your rent, or tell you to pay them yourself every month.
If you own a condo or house, you'll need to put the service in your own name. Be sure to take as much documentation as you can carry (that's only a slight exaggeration).
These include your ownership papers, cédula or passport, the last bill for your unit or house (if you have one), and anything else you can think of that might possibly be related to opening an account. And have at least one copy of each of them; two copies is even better!
If you're renting, see the above tip. You don't want to be stuck paying utility costs for someone else's use of your house or condo.
If you bank at Banco de Guayaquil or Banco Bolivariano, you can pay your water bill online. If not, you'll have to pay in person. Here's a list of payment locations for your ETAPA water service (and phone) bill. This list is out-of-date, however. There are a few more ETAPA locations now.
You will not receive a bill in the mail. Remember every month to take the previous bill (or have your account number stored in your cell phone or written down) to one of the payment offices and pay your bill. They'll print out the current bill and take your payment.
If you don't do this, you'll likely receive a notice stating that you have 24-48 hours to pay the bill. We haven't heard of ETAPA cutting off anyone's water, but it could happen if the amount owed becomes large enough.
Plus you'll discover on your bill that an interest charge (not much) and a delivery charge for the notice (again, not much) have been added to the total. Why pay extra when you can easily avoid it?
With water costs so low, it's tempting to use lots of water. Baths every day, 30 minute showers, running the water while you're brushing your teeth or shaving, these can all add up to serious use of Cuenca's water resources.
During the rainy season, it's easy to think that Ecuador will never run out of water. Maybe it won't run out, but it could certainly end up having to ration potable water supplies.
Please use our water responsibly. Make sure taps aren't leaking, don't wash your sidewalks with the hose (even though you'll see Cuencanos doing it all the time), and think about replacing toilets with low-flow ones.
Cuenca has very good drinking water, thanks in part to its purity before it reaches the treatment plants, and thanks in part to the ETAPA water service that cleans it and delivers it to us.
If we all do our part to ensure that we never run out of this life-sustaining resource, Cuenca will remain a viable and enjoyable place to live.
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I just want to thank you both soooo much for creating this web site. I am originally from Cuenca but moved to New York 11 years ago and have not being back since. My husband and I are planning on visiting Cuenca over the Summer and this web site has helped me a lot.
When I came to the US we still had the "sucre," the bus ride cost 1,000 sucres and a pack of trident gum would cost 3,000 sucres. I am very nervous to go back, but thanks to your web site I now know what to expect.
My husband is American and Captivating Cuenca has taught him a lot about what my great city has to offer, things that I had forgotten about myself! :)
Thank You both so much! I cannot wait to visit Cuenca!!