Here is some good news for residents of south Mumbai.
After years of paying a blanket rate for using water, those living in old buildings will soon be billed depending on their consumption, which will be monitored through meters.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) plans to conduct a survey and install water meters in old buildings in the island city. This will mean that residents will have to pay only for the quantity of water they use, a move that officials believe will benefits 1 lakh families.
Currently, residents who have legal water connections are charged water tax, along with their property tax. They have to pay a blanket 65% of the rateable value (calculated on the rent that a property fetches or may fetch) as water tax. Civic officials claimed that if charged through meters, the tax amount would reduce.
Although the civic body has no concrete information on connections in old buildings, officials estimate that there are at least 1 lakh unmetered connections, which consume around 450 million litres of water every day.
Although the exercise might lead to a marginal dip in the civic body’s revenue, officials said it was necessary to install meters to know the exact water consumption. It will also streamline the system to check water leakage and theft.
“Currently, we have no information on these 1 lakh water connections. We don’t know the exact number of connections, nor do we know the total consumption or loss. Installing the meters is important to ensure that the supply to these homes is quantified,” said a civic official from the hydraulic engineer’s department.
The BMC plans to appoint a company for each of the island city’s wards to carry out the survey. “We have ordered a pilot survey of 50-60 water connections in certain parts of the island city. Once the results are in, we can determine the methodology that we want to adopt,” said additional municipal commissioner Rajiv Jalota.