Inflated water bills and water meter thefts in slums may be soon a thing of the past. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will soon install two lakh mechanical water meters in slums across Mumbai, a move that will help them get an idea of the exact water consumption.
Currently, the BMC supplies water at a subsidised rate of Rs 3.5 for 1,000 litres to slum residents. Of the 3,760 million litres of water supplied to Mumbai every day, nearly 700 million litres is unaccounted for, which means it is either lost to leakages or is stolen.
The BMC thus suffers losses worth an average of Rs 400 crore annually because of water pilferage and illegal connections. Metering the connections will assist the BMC in controlling water pilferage and will also help in measuring the exact amount of water leakage and theft.
The drive will also be extended to other areas. Around 88,000 automated meter reading (AMR) facility meters have been installed in the non-slum areas. According to the data with the civic body, there are 4.5 lakh water connections in Mumbai.
“Statements of expression of interest will be invited from meter manufacturing firms to provide mechanical meters. We had earlier planned to install AMR facility meters in slums too, but many meters were stolen, so we will install meters that have barely any resale value,” said an official from the hydraulic department.
The ambitious project to install water meters in slums was scheduled to be completed by 2012. Civic officials, after being slammed by the high court last year for not providing water to slum dwellers, are also working on the idea of a scheme to provide water to all slums in Mumbai.
Once the plan of installing and replacing existing water meters is implemented, the BMC will own and maintain all consumer meters in Mumbai.
Meanwhile, the BMC is also carrying out its ambitious Rs250 crore water distribution improvement project (WDIP), which is expected to be completed in five years.