The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) ambitious project, of metering all 3.11 lakh water connections in the city (except in slums), seems to be jinxed.
The project was initiated to monitor the exact amount of water leakage and theft, but has now been halted by the BMC, after the civic body came across a technical error in the computerised billing system. Because of the error, the civic body has been unable to recover water bills for the last three to four months and has not issued these to housing societies.
Last month, the BMC had realised that newly installed water meters in the suburbs were missing. The project was scheduled to be completed by 2012, but is likely to be delayed.
So far, only 46,000 water meters have been installed, in various housing societies and buildings in the city.
“An error might have occurred because we are adopting a new system of water billing. Now, we have stopped the installation of new meters, but we hope the problem will be sorted out soon, so we can resume the work,” said RB Bambale, a hydraulic engineer at the BMC.
The pending amount from bills that were not recovered is likely to go into crores of rupees, but the department is unwilling to disclose the amount.
“Had we not stopped the installation of meters, the pending bill amount would have increased further. We have instructed all ward offices to sort out the issue at the earliest,” informed Bambale.
The civic corporation supplies 3, 300 million litre of water a day (MLD), against a demand of 4,200 MLD. About 700 MLD are estimated to be lost daily, due to leakage and pilferage.
The civic body has started the pilot project in seven wards of the island city and western suburbs, from Goregaon to Dahisar, to identify how much water goes waste and thus find a solution for the same.
Additionally, the metering system is also beneficial to end consumers, who, under the current system, end up shelling out more money.
Currently, the civic department issues bills on the basis of average consumption and not exact usage of water.