Faced with a sharp dip in revenue, Chennai Metrowater is exploring various means of financial support to cope with the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown.
In the past three months, Metrowater earned a revenue of a mere ₹91 crore compared to ₹201 crore collected last year during the same period. In May so far, only about ₹11 crore has been collected against nearly ₹50 crore earned as revenue during May 2019.
Apart from lower revenue from tax collection, there has been a sharp dip in industrial and commercial demand which has led to a dip in revenue.
Besides, cost overruns due to delays in projects and additional expenditure incurred towards personal protective equipment (PPE) kits and safety gear to ensure health of workers has affected the Metrowater finances, officials said.
Meanwhile, the water board is one of the stakeholders in a study initiated by the World Bank on COVID-19 impact on urban water utilities.
According to sources in the Metrowater, the study is set to address the major issues affecting water utilities across the country during the pandemic, financial options and how the World Bank can support and provide COVID-19 liquidity to them. The study may help assess the needs of the water agency and translate to additional funds.
It may be recalled that Metrowater already tied up with the World Bank for a few projects, including tertiary treatment ultra filtration projects and underground drainage projects in merged areas.
In a bid to sustain resources, the water agency also sought financial support under the State Disaster Response Fund.
“We have sought ₹25 crore, spent towards taking precautionary measures against the pandemic,” an official said.
Besides disinfection measures during the lockdown, Metrowater procured PPE kits and undertook projects to provide piped water supply to 1,000 streets, which were earlier getting tanker supply. It recently increased water supply from 650 million litres a day to 700 mld.