With the twin purpose of enforcing judicious use of water and tiding over its fiscal deficit, the Delhi Jal Board on Tuesday announced a steep increase in water tariffs for the Capital’s citizens effective from January 1 next year.

The volumetric increase in water charges ranging between 57 and 151 per cent for domestic category consumers has been affected to make heavy users pay more. Commercial users on the other hand will have to pay more not only for water; they have also been slapped with an additional sewerage charge ranging from Rs.2,000 to Rs.10,000 per month.

Announcing the hike, the Jal Board chairperson, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, said though Delhi’s per capita consumption of water is the highest in the country it continues to be the city with the lowest water charges. “Water tariffs have been revised after five years and this was needed because the population has been increasing. Every year about 4 to 5 lakh people are added to this city and about 10 lakh come here to work everyday. We have to cater to them all,” she said.

The Chief Minister said the recently regularised colonies that are being provided water connections are putting an additional burden on Delhi’s share of water.

Referring to the revision in rates, Ms. Dikshit said the structure has been designed to put the least pressure on the economically weaker sections of consumers. Since the hike is volumetric, she urged people to install meters at their premises and warned that the Jal Board might otherwise be forced to take harsh steps. There are about 18 lakh metered connections in the city now.

Pointing out that the Jal Board will continue to subsidise water, the Chief Minister said the hike in charges would mean a reduction in subsidy, not its removal. “The Jal Board incurs a cost of Rs.24 per kilolitre in sourcing, treatment and distribution of water in the city. This includes sewerage treatment cost as well. However, it is able to recover only a fraction of this cost.”

According to the revised structure, water will be charged at Rs.2 per kilolitre for usage up to 10 kl per month. The fixed charge has been increased from Rs.40 to Rs.50 for this category of consumers. In the commercial category no increase has been made in water rates for consumers who use less than 10 kl a month.

In the domestic category, the Jal Board will now charge Rs.100 as a fixed service charge from consumers who use 10 kl to 20 kl of water a month with the volumetric increase being Rs.3 per kl. For consumers using between 20-30 kl per month, the service charge will be Rs.150 and the volumetric increase will be Rs.15 per kl. Those consuming more than 30 kl a month will have to shell out Rs.200 as service charge and the volumetric increase will be Rs.25 per kl.

Sewer charges are 60 per cent of the total water volumetric charge.

In the commercial category, 0 to 10 kl will be charged at Rs.10 per kl and a fixed rate of Rs.400; 10-25 kl will be charged Rs.600 as fixed rate and Rs.20 per kl; 25 to 50 kl category will be charged Rs.700 as fixed charge and Rs.50 per kl; 50-100 kl category of users will be charged Rs.900 as fixed rate and Rs.100 per kl.

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