The Delhi Jal Board (DJB) would soon acquire one lakh water meters in the houses of the consumers. The decision is expected to raise the revenues of the DJB as a large number of consumers in the city pay an average amount for water which is generally lower than the amount consumed.
The decision was taken in the Board meeting of the DJB, chaired by chief minister Sheila Dikshit. The issue of installation of water meters was kept pending for the last six years as due to court cases and reluctance on the part of the DJB.
After the Board meeting, Dikshit said, “this is a progressive step towards metering entire Delhi”. Of the 14 lakh water connections in the city, only 9 lakh are billed as per the meters. The remaining five lakh connections pay an average bill, fixed by the DJB in accordance with the area in which they live and the type of accommodation which they have.
A DJB official said, "With the installation of meters, the wastage would be minimised. At present, we do not know what is the amount of excess consumption – 30 per cent or 300 per cent”.
The average bill for a water connection in resettlement colonies, rural areas, LIG and Janata flats, one room tenements and Type I government quarters is around Rs 40. For the MIG flats in DDA colonies, the rate is around Rs 120. "Now they will have to pay according to the use and not an average basis," said an official.
However, the roadmap for the DJB is not easy. They will acquire the meters in the next 3 months from a private company. The company would give a five year warranty on each meter and would be responsible for its operation and maintenance.
The Board members raised the issue of the Sonia Vihar Water Treatment plant and said that even if UP provided 140 MGD of water, there was no facility to take it to the consumers.
DJB member Ramvir Singh Bidhuri said only half the reservoirs have been completed to date and even the pipelines to take the water to the houses of the consumers have not been laid.
“Will they throw the water in the Yamuna or the drains if they get 140 MGD?” asked Bidhuri. The Board members were also not satisfied with the technology to be used for cleaning drains and sewage and wanted changes.
Dikshit assured the DJB board members that a blueprint for utilising 140 MGD of water from the plant would be drawn in the next 15 days. She also promised to look into the matter of technology for cleaning the drains.
The Board, however, approved a proposal to provide free water to all the retired employees of the DJB.