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Haryana may privatise water distribution

The Haryana Govt may hand over the water treatment and distribution system to private companies, reports SK Ahuja.
Hindustan Times | By Sanjeev K Ahuja Sanjeev K. Ahuja, Gurgaon
UPDATED ON APR 02, 2008 03:12 AM IST

The Haryana government is looking at the possibility of handing over the water treatment and distribution system to private companies, in a step aimed at assuring adequate water supply to residents.

Consumers may, however, have to pay higher than the prevalent subsidised rate of Rs 2.50 per kilolitre (1,000litres). If private companies take over the supply network, consumers could pay anywhere between Rs 10 and Rs 15 per kilolitre. Water treatment and distribution costs state government agencies Rs 8-10 per kilolitre.

The state government is also thinking of rationalising the current rate and charge consumers in various slabs on the lines of the power sector. Those who would use more water would have to pay higher rates and vice versa, officials said. This would also curb irresponsible use of water depleting at a dangerous pace in Gurgaon.

The state government has also decided to conduct a water audit to know the exact water supply, demand and other related factors for Gurgaon.

According to a senior government official, some of the private sector consultants have suggested the Haryana government hand over the water treatment and distribution system to private hands in Gurgaon. The government has ambitious pans to lay a 800cusec water canal by 2010 and also set up a new water treatment pant in Chandu Budhera village. It also has plans to set up another reservoir of 40MGD capacity for the city next to the existing 40MGD treatment pant in Basai village.

A private sector consultancy firm had suggested the entire water treatment and distribution system could be handed over to private companies, who would be responsible for handing bills to consumers and collecting revenue from them. The government would discuss the possibility of the project, the official said.

According to a water consultant JS Yadav the model had been tried successfully in Chennai, where private firms treated the sewerage water and distributed it in the town. “There the cost to the firm came to about 12-13 per kilolitre and it charges the consumer between Rs 20 and Rs 25 per kilolitre. But in the case of treatment of canal water, the cost would be between Rs 8 and Rs 10 in Gurgaon and consumer may have to pay around Rs 10-15 per kilolitre,” said Yadav, who is also a former engineer-in-chief of the Public Health Department.

RS Rathee, president of DLF Qutub Enclave RWA, said instead of handing over the water treatment and distribution to private players, the government should have thought of floating a dedicated water body on the lines of the Delhi Jal Board.

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