With the summer just setting in, many residential complexes across Bengaluru and Hyderabad have been hit by severe water shortage and private suppliers in both cities are having a field day. However, some suppliers are concerned that the water scarcity might well hit them soon too.
At the moment, water prices across Bengaluru range from Rs 400 to Rs 700 per tanker load depending on the demand from different areas. Suppliers are hoping that there will be a 30 per cent increase in prices by the time monsoons come.
Vasu, the owner of Saagar Water Suppliers, which services RT Nagar, Malleswaram and Sadashivnagar areas in north Bangalore, said that they supply over ten 7000-litre tankers of water every day to residential complexes in these areas.
"We charge around Rs 400 to Rs 500 per tanker, with extra charges depending on the distance of the location. There has been a slight increase in demand and we had increased the prices by Rs 50 in March," he said.
When asked if there is any reason why these specific areas are suffering water shortages, Vasu blames the contract given by the Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board to L&T to replace pipes.
"The board is replacing three-quarter inch pipes with half inch pipes. So unlike before, when 45 minutes of pumping water would fill the tank, now only half the tank is getting filled," he said.
Vasu added that last year the price of a tanker load of water had gone up to Rs 600 to Rs 700 by July and the prices might rise to similar levels this year too.
He also said that every year, the corporation would stop supplying water for a couple of days in the peak of summer, claiming that tanks need cleaning.
Vasu, who sources the water from a borewell unit in Yelahanka, said that water shortage might also affect them. If that happens, apart from increasing the prices, they might decrease the number of places they supply water to.
In Hyderabad, people largely depend on water from private tankers because they deliver within three to four hours, while it takes weeks for the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWSASB) to deliver water during the summer.
Shekar, who owns Bhanu Water Suppliers delivers water to hostels, apartments, residential areas and function halls in Gachibowli, Hitech city and Kondapur.
â€śThis year the demand has increased to four to five orders per day. Each tanker carries about 5000 litres of water and is sold for Rs 500 to Rs 600,â€ť said Shekar, adding that till December 2015, they charged between Rs 450 and Rs 550.
In Bengaluru, private water suppliers who cater to the IT hub of Bengaluru, Electronic City phase I, have already started charging Rs 650 for each 5000-litre tanker.
Shashi, the owner of Chamundeshwari Water Supply, said that many apartments, primarily belonging to IT workers, are in constant need of drinking water.
"There are over 10 main water suppliers who take water to those areas and all of them are charging as much. Last year the price went up to Rs 900 to Rs 1050 per tanker," he said.
However, Shashi says, water suppliers will have so much business only so long as they have access to water supply from borewells.
"Last year the supply went down by mid-May itself," he said.
Ram Chandra Reddy, who owns Sri Rama Water Supply and has been delivering water in Uppal and its surrounding areas for the past 7 years, claims that the demand for water has doubled
Reddy said, â€śWe are getting around 10 to 15 orders everyday while last year we got only 5 to 6 orders per day. We have increased the charges of 5000 litre tankers by Rs 150 from last year when we used to charge Rs 350.â€ť
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