India head suggests penalty based on meter readings
The municipal administration should work out a feasible method of penalising households for water wastage on the basis of meter readings, according to the country director of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) that is funding a 24x7 water supply project in the city.
“Why don’t you apply a penalty using the system? We are providing the tools to have more equitable water distribution,” Kenichi Yokoyama, who heads ADB’s India Resident Mission, told Metro on Thursday in response to a question on rampant water wastage.
The Calcutta Municipal Corporation has installed 2,200 meters across wards 1 to 6 as part of a project. The consumption readings in some households have left engineers and officials involved in the project shocked.
Water consumption in some households of Paikpara and Belgachhia is 800 litres per person per day, Metro had reported in May. The national average, as calculated by the Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering Organisation, is 135 litres a day.
Per capita daily water consumption in Chennai is 84 litres, 100 litres in Bangalore and 170 litres in Mumbai.
“Some alert system, some penalty system for overusers can be applied… It is a kind of instrument that we believe is a good way to monitor and manage water efficiently,” said Yokoyama, who was in town for the launch of a flood forecasting and early warning system.
The ADB-financed Rs 3,000-crore Kolkata Environmental Improvement Investment Programme aims to take piped water round-the-clock to all households in Calcutta by 2024. A bank official said the meters installed in some wards were meant to give the municipal administration an idea of per capita consumption, detect leaks and their locations and divert excess water from one place to another so that there is equitable distribution.
Localities in the vicinity of the British-era Tallah tank in north Calcutta currently get 18 hours of water every day. Parts of Jadavpur and Kasba receive barely five hours of water supply daily.
The ADB believes that installing water meters and charging households based on consumption are crucial to controlling wastage and ensuring equitable distribution. “Meters will help people know how much they are consuming so that they don’t waste water,” said Neeta Pokhrel, principal urban development specialist at ADB.
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