Tuesday, February 23, 2010

BWSSB proposes big hike in water tariff

BWSSB proposes big hike in water tariff
Bangalore, Feb 22, DH News Service:

A proposed 11.5 per cent hike in water tariff may be imposed soon on Bangaloreans, who are already reeling under an acute power crisis and a daily water shortage of 300 million litres.

The increase in tariff has been proposed by the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) to compensate for the excess expenditure incurred due to the recent hike in power charges.

The State government is yet to take a final decision, but the BWSSB is ready with its rationale for the hike. Board chairperson P B Ramamurthy said the BWSSB is incurring an additional expenditure of Rs 2.5 crore on the bills to be paid to BESCOM every month due to the increase in power bills.

“The annual expenditure towards power bills was Rs 260 crore earlier, but the increase in power tariff has now shot up this expense by 11.5 per cent now,” Ramamurthy explained at a talk arranged by the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI) here.

Water needs to be pumped to the City from a distance of 100 kilometres.

The board, he said, is helpless. The burden has to be passed on to consumers. That means the Bangalorean has no escape from the summer woes, compounded by the power crisis.

Currently, the minimum water tariff is Rs 45 for water consumption up to a maximum of 8,000 litres a month, according to BWSSB spokesman Prahlad Rao.

Augmenting supply

The board has also recommended to the government two concrete steps to augment drinking water supply.

“To ensure additional supply of water to Bangalore apart from Stage IV and Phase II, we have asked the State to ensure an additional 12 TMC feet of water from the Cauvery,” Ramamurthy said.

A proposal has also been made to divert West-flowing rivers and tap the water from them.

The City is now reeling under a shortage of 300 million litres per day. The level in the T G Halli reservoir, which caters to the water requirements of West Bangalore, is just 20 feet out of its total capacity of 74 feet.

This is a 12-foot reduction in water level compared to the readings in the previous year. The completion of the Rs 3,384-crore Cauvery Stage IV Phase II project by the end of 2011 will ensure an additional 500 million litres of water per day for the City.

Power worries

FKCCI president J Crasta said the frequent power shutdowns in the State during the last one week is proving to be disastrous for the industry.

“Industries all over the State are incurring a loss of Rs 1 crore per day due to the erractic supply,” he added.

Ramamurthy said the BWSSB would set up 10 additional sewerage treatment plants.
“At the moment, we have the capacity to treat 721 million litres of sewerage but only around 346 million litres are being treated as the rest go to storm water drains,” he said.
He also said the government would soon implement a zero sewerage zone project in the Hebbal valley in the city.


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