Karnataka

15% spike in domestic water consumption in Bengaluru

Residents collecting potable drinking water which is supplied once in four days at Ambedkar colony in Nayandahalli.  

As most people in the city are at home due to the lockdown for almost a month now, and with the increase in awareness on personal hygiene, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) has seen a gradual increase in domestic consumption of water.

The water utility has noticed an increase of around 15% over the past three and a half weeks.

Tushar Girinath, chairman, BWSSB, said there is usually a spike in consumption of water during summer. “However, this year, the spike is above average as everyone is at home all the time,” he said and added that as the water meter reading was stopped due to the lockdown, they did not have accurate date. “But based on other parameters such as pumping and quantity of water consumed, we can say that the consumption, on an average, has increased,” he said.

Since water supply for commercial and industrial units has been stopped, BWSSB has managed to divert around 140 MLD of water for domestic purposes. However, diverting the leftover water has not been an easy task for the board.

“Diverting unconsumed water is not as easy as it seems as pipeline capacity remains the same and we also need to maintain certain level of pressure,” a senior engineer said, adding that the demand from residential areas and hospitals was more.

Vishwanath Srikantaiah, water conservationist, said it was the right time for all agencies concerned to promote and encourage people to effectively utilise grey water for various purposes.

Water bill collection dips

On the other hand, the BWSSB, which raises around ₹120 crore from consumers every month, saw a dip in March and is expecting a revenue dip in April as well. The board has offered a ‘payment holiday’ due to the lockdown where it has promised that it would not disconnect water supply if people were unable to pay the monthly bill, which will be recovered later. In addition, dip in revenue due to stoppage of water supply to commercial and industrial establishments is inevitable to the board.

According to senior officials, the board collected ₹120 crore in January and ₹119 crore in February. “Our revenue dipped to ₹97.8 crore in March due to the lockdown that started in the last week of March. 60% of bills are paid in the latter half of every month and our collection was hit from March 23,” a senior official said.

Though BWSSB kiosks are open and online and digital payment methods are available, BWSSB has received 40% less revenue till the mid of April. BWSSB receives over ₹78 crore through bills paid from BangaloreOne and BWSSB kiosks.

“To compared it with last month, by March 15, the board had collected ₹30 crore but as on 16 April, the collection stood at ₹18 crore,” a BWSSB official said and added, “A dip in collection was expected due to the lockdown. The recovery time might take three to six months. This will definitely impact the financial condition of the board.”

Online payments up

The board has also seen an increase in people paying online. “This month, of the ₹18 crore collected, over ₹11 crore was through online transactions, which is more than usual,” B.M. Manjunath, PRO, BWSSB, said, adding that the board was encouraging consumers to pay the bill either through their website or digital payment wallets.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2020 1:29:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/15-spike-in-domestic-water-consumption/article31418375.ece

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