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Water tariff to be hiked next year

A recent article in a financial magazine about Mumbai having the second lowest water tariff among top international cities has reportedly caused quite a storm among BMC officials

While the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner Subodh Kumar hinted in his budget speech earlier this year that a hike in water tariff is likely, and, according to sources, a proposal for such a hike has been sent to the BMC Standing Committee, those in favour of the hike have found an unlikely supporter.

According to sources, a Fortune magazine article dated October 17 is doing the rounds in BMC, and has also reached the hands of the BMC Standing Committee Chairman Rahul Shewale. The report details how Mumbai, among 16 'most important cities' of the world, has the second lowest water tariffs in the world. While 100 gallons (approximately 378 litres) of water costs $0.04 (Rs 1.95) in the city, the cheapest is found in Buenos Aires ($0.01, Re 0.49) and the most expensive in Copenhagen ($ 3.03, Rs 147.39).

Many corporators are reportedly using the article to point out the urgent need to raise water tariffs. When contacted, Shewale said, "The rates have not been revised for a long time, and other cities (as pointed by the magazine) sell water at such a high rate. But we cannot let this (water tariff hike) happen before elections."

A BMC official from the water department said on the condition of anonymity that rates would be hiked after elections. "The proposal (for hike) is being worked upon. It will be tabled next year. The BMC suffers losses due to low rates, especially in slum areas."

According to the BMC, the cost incurred by the municipal body for supplying 1,000 litres of water is Rs 11.15. For the same quantity, residential users are only charged Rs 3.5, while commercial users are charged between Rs 25 and Rs 38, and slum dwellers are pay Rs 2.25.

Shewale added that if and when a hike does come into effect, there would be the added benefit of ensuring 24-hour water supply.

Water comes cheap to you
The Cost incurred by the municipal body for supplying 1,000 litres of water is Rs 11.15. For the same quantity, residential users are only charged Rs 3.5, commercial users between Rs 25 and Rs 38, and slum dwellers are charged Rs 2.25.

Mumbai has the second lowest water tariffs in the world among the 16 countries listed as the most important cities in the world by Fortune Magazine.

Globally, agriculture accounts for 71 per cent and industry accounts for 16 per cent of water use.

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