Apartments receive 300% hike in water bill!

Apartment associations that received their water bills for June 2013 were in for a shock. Their water bills were two to three times more than what they had been paying!

Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) had increased the charges for bulk consumers as per a notification in the Karnataka Gazette dated 23rd May 2013, but most apartment association representatives and residents were not aware of either the new charges, or of the impact of the amendment in tariff, till they received the bills. 

According to the new tariff rules, for Bulk Domestic Consumers i.e. High-rise/Multistoried Buildings/ Apartments/ Central and State Government Housing Complexes/ Villas/ Individual Group Housing

* Water tariff would be a flat rate of Rs.19/- per kilo litre
* Sanitary charges as detailed below.
(a) 20% of water supply charges payable per month subject to minimum of Rs.100/- per flat per month
(b) For apartments having the Board water supply and UGD connection but supplementing water supply by borewells/ water tankers, additional sanitary charges at Rs.50/- per flat per month. 
(c) Premises not having water supply connection from the Board but having only UGD connection to be charged sanitary charges at Rs.50/- per flat per month.

Brigade Millennium Mayflower Block in JP Nagar (250 flats with 220 occupied) consumes about 5,000 kilo litres per month and the monthly water charge (average at Rs. 7-8 per kilo litre) was Rs 35,000 to 40,000/-. It is now over Rs.95,000. Sanitary charges raised from Rs.15/- per flat to Rs 100 per flat has resulted in an increase from Rs.3,750 to Rs.25,000/-. As the borewells in the premises were not yielding water, the connections were surrendered to BWSSB, thereby eliminating Rs.12,500/- (Rs.50/- per flat extra).

O P Ramaswamy, treasurer of the Mayflower Association, said that the net result is a bill of about three times the earlier tariff, which will result in an annual expense of more than Rs.5 lakhs over the budgeted amount. He also advised the residents to tighten their consumption of water and do everything possible to conserve water.

The association has already taken steps to reduce water wastage in apartments. The in-house plumber has been visiting every flat, checking for leaks, replacing washers, checking if the flush cistern has a bottle of water to reduce the flush water, adjusting the valves for water pressure, and everything else to ensure that no water went down the drain unnecessarily. The rainwater harvesting system that is in place is expected to provide some respite during this month, as rains are more comparatively. 

There are mixed reactions on whether this differential pricing for apartments and independent houses is justified. It is “people” living in both places, and the basic right to clean water remains constant. 

While Mayflower, as well as several other apartments in Bangalore have filed their protests against the steep rise with the BWSSB, one hopes that some amount of conservation will result with this pricing. After all, most often, conservation is a consequence of cost. And here the price to pay is substantial!

About Arathi Manay Yajaman 33 Articles
Arathi is a trustee of Puttenahalli Neighbourhood Lake Improvement Trust (PNLIT) and an active citizen.

2 Comments

  1. Thank you for the post. Since last 2 months we have the BWSSB water connection in our apartment of 20 flats. We were surprised to see a bill of 3150 even though there was no water consumption (I guess less than min usage of a house). Sanitary and bore well charges took the most in the bill. I remember seeing 2000 for sanitary and 1000 for borewell charges. I was planning to visit BWSSB this weekend. Your post helped me. Now it all makes sense for this exorbitant charges.

  2. Would it be better if a probe is undertaken to retrieve all the scammed money already coughed out of tax-paying citizens (?)… so that not only price rise and rupee plunge yet also these toll charges and rising bills may be slashed… maybe even to the point of having a long tax holiday for ordinary people?! i’m sure the government officials in the welfare state are not lazy enough to ignore this idea; after all, they are tax-payers as well…

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