Rates of private water tankers may rise sharply
As the city is expected to reel under a water crisis in the days ahead, prices of private water tankers carrying both, potable and non-potable water to more than 6,000 households, hotels and hospitals, are also estimated to rise sharply.
Currently, a private tanker carrying 10,000 litres of water costs between Rs. 800 and Rs. 1300. Proprietors of water tanker agencies across the city say this could go up by 30%, which means it could now cost between Rs. 1,700 and Rs. 2,200.
"If there are no heavy showers in the next six days, consumers will suffer a major setback," said Jeetendra Waghela, owner, Bandra Well Water Supplier. "Private well owners who supply water to us could increase the cost by Rs. 300 or more. We will have to increase the price too, keeping in mind our profit margins."
Around 2,500 private water tankers with a capacity of 10,000 litres each ply in the city daily, making an average of five trips to supply water to hotels, hospitals and housing societies. "The price will depend directly on the availability of well water," said Rajesh Thakur, secretary, Mumbai Water Tankers' Association.
Former mayor Shubha Raul said the price rise is a result of the nexus between private well owners and private tanker proprietors. "Very often, non-potable water is sold to caterers and households under the guise of potable drinking water. It is essential for the civic body to acquire control even over the privately owned wells in the city to control costs," said Raul.
Residents are a worried lot. "With such a steep increase in cost, we will have to worry about effective storage and maintenance of water," said Madhu Poplai, secretary, Pali Hill Residents Association. "High costs will also give rise to illegal storage of water."