BWSSB has written to the government to either allow a hike in the water tariff or sanction an annual grant of Rs. 200 crore to the board
Citizens, be prepared to pay more for water after Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board starts supply from the Cauvery Stage IV Phase II. BWSSB has written to the government to either allow a hike in the water tariff or sanction an annual grant of Rs. 200 crore to the board. The water board has not been receiving any government grants.
BWSSB chairperson Gaurav Gupta told The Hindu on Sunday that the government was being apprised of the board’s financial position. “We have made it clear to the government that our monthly power, operation and maintenance costs would go up drastically after the new project is commissioned,” he said. The new project will augment the city’s daily supply of 900 million litres of water per day by 500 mld. The ambitious project is set to be commissioned in phases to provide water to the new areas added to the BBMP from the erstwhile six city municipal councils and one town municipal council.
Tariff not revised
The water board, which has spent Rs. 1,759 crore on the project with assistance from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), has been pushing for a hike in water rates for several years. Although power tariff was revised more than twice since 2005, water tariff has remained the same. Water rates have not been revised in the last seven years.
Although the former BWSSB Minister Katta Subramanya Naidu had, in April last year, announced that water rates would be hiked, the proposal was not approved by the Cabinet. “We have explained to the government that our financial burden had increased following the increase in power tariff in the last few years. It will be difficult to manage after the Cauvery Stage IV Phase II is commissioned,” Mr. Gupta said. He said: “The government will have to tell us how to meet the additional costs. Either the tariff should be hiked or we should be given annual grants. Otherwise, we will be constrained on several issues. We cannot compromise on operation and maintenance of existing lines. We need money to replace and rehabilitate the old lines.”
The board is now spending Rs. 28 crore monthly on power used to pump water to the city from its reservoirs. “Although this cost is likely to increase by another Rs. 20 crore (Rs. 240 crore annually) for pumping the extra 500 mld of water, we are asking for a grant of only Rs. 200 crore,” he said. “When the partial commissioning is done to pump 200 to 250 mld of water, the initial additional expenses on power charges and maintenance will be around Rs. 13 crore. This will increase to Rs. 20 crore after the total project is commissioned,” he said.