Water Meter Pilot Launched in India
The civic administration has taken a much-needed step towards making citizens accountable for every drop of water they consume and also to measure its loss through leakages. The civic body has started work on a pilot project to install water meters in 1,200 households in Sahkarnagar and Rajas society at a cost of Rs 3.77 crore.
The water metering system will help the civic administration calculate the quantity of water used, which in turn will help them determine water lost due to leakages or other reasons. The long-term plan, of course, is to tax people based on their water consumption as against a fixed amount (of up to Rs 1,100) that citizens pay currently.
Officials said the water meter pilot project would also help them develop an equitable water distribution system for the entire city including the fringe areas. As part of the process, the municipal corporation has invited tenders from private agencies for the installation.
“The basic intention is to do a water audit. It will help in developing an equitable water system,” said Nandkishor Jagtap, executive engineer of Pune Municipal Corporation’s water department. After the pilot project, water meters will also be installed in another 1,800 households in Bhavani Peth, Vimannagar, and Maharashtra housing board.
The PMC will also install meters on the main water pipelines that supply water to Sahkarnagar and Rajas society. With the help of the data, the corporation will be able to determine water loss. “The data will help in improved management of water supply. Meters will also help in giving us information about water pressure,” Jagtap said.
Officials of the water supply department said as of now, there is an imbalance in the distribution system. The core areas of the city get adequate water supply, but the situation is different in fringe areas. The civic body aims at has envisaged 100% metered water supply in the city.
Currently, the corporation supplies 1,150 MLD (million litres per day) water for the city’s 40 lakh population. This supply works out to 300 litres per capita per day which is almost double the yardstick (national average supply of around 150 litres per capita per day). However, officials said the distribution is inequitable and that not all citizens get that much water. The city lacks a metering system and citizens pay a lump sum tax up to Rs 1,100 per year irrespective of the quantity of water they use, the officials said.
The pilot project is expected to be completed in a year’s time. The first data of water usage, water pressure and water leakage will be available by the end of 2014. The agency that will bag the contract will have to do the project’s maintenance for five years, Jagtap said.
The Union government is pressing for metered water supply in all cities that receive funds under the JNNURM to ensure that civic bodies recover the cost of water supply.
A few years ago, the civic administration had tried to introduce metered water supply, claiming that it would help calculate water tax accurately. However, the PMC general body scrapped the system for domestic users and has been billing them on the basis of the annual ratable value of their properties.