Bengalureans may have to shell out more money for their water bills every month. The Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) officials are now working on a proposal which recommends the increase in water tariff by 30-35%.
BWSSB officials say that the proposal will soon be sent to the Karnataka government for approval. The water supply agency is also planning to recover some of the expenses it incurred in projects in the city by increasing the tariff.
"The Karnataka government has approved periodical increase of electricity tariff. But water tariff remains the same. In October 2017, we had submitted a proposal for increasing the water tariff once in three years. However, the government had recommended that water tariff can be increased once in five years. The last time the tariff was increased was in 2014 and hence we are planning to increase the rates this year," a senior BWSSB official said.
The official says that the agency has to bear huge costs on electricity and is now cash-strapped. "We need to pump water from the Thorekadanahalli dam. For this we have to pay the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation and Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Corporation. The monthly cost itself is around Rs 33 crore. We are generating a revenue of around Rs 100 crore per month. A huge chunk of it is going on paying electricity bills to two agencies and hence we need to increase tariff. We also have to recover costs incurred for several projects in Bengaluru," the BWSSB official said.
BWSSB will have to hold public consultation before the proposal is sent to the government. Officials say that in March 2018, the Karnataka government rejected the agency's initial proposal made in October 2017 and had recommended that BWSSB hold public consultation.
In 2014, the BWSSB had increased the minimum water tariff from Rs 48 to Rs 57 per month and the minimum monthly bill from Rs 83 to Rs 100 per month for domestic usage.