Water tariff raised across the board, KWA aims to come out of the red

Water tap.

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Water Authority (KWA) has raised the water tariff for domestic as well as non-domestic consumers in the state by five per cent with effect from April 1. According to officials, henceforth, the tariff would witness a similar rise every year on April 1.

The increase in water tariff, which was announced by the state government before the Assembly elections, has now been implemented by KWA in a secretive manner. In fact, the consumers have not been officially informed about the revised rates.

According to the KWA’s order, the hike covers all categories of consumers such as domestic, non-domestic and industrial connections, water tankers and public taps managed by local bodies. The new rates would reflect in the water bills issued from May. As the KWA prepares bills every two months, the bill issued in May would calculate the amount for March under the old rate and that for April under the revised rate.

Why KWA can't wait further

Even though it was planned to implement the revised tariff after a new government took over next month, the decision was advanced considering the financial crisis plaguing the state. A KWA official said that the hike was based on a recommendation given by the Central Government when the state approached it to raise the borrowing limit. Moreover, as the Water Resources Department had already issued an order regarding the increase in tariff, no new notification was required.

Earlier, the Centre had allowed states to avail an additional 2 per cent loan from other sources considering the COVID-19 situation. Alongside, four conditions to ensure financial discipline were suggested, including the strengthening of local bodies.

Based on the Centre’s directive, T K Jose, Additional Chief Secretary, Water Resources Department, issued an order on February 10 this year raising the water tariff by 5 per cent. The order was kept a secret considering the Assembly elections but it came to light soon. However, the Minister for Water Resources K Krishnankutty and officials in the department had said that no decision was taken to increase the tariff.

A glance at the hike

While a domestic consumer utilizing up to 5,000 litres of water during the bill period had to pay Rs 20 as per the existing rate, he or she would need to pay Rs 21 now. Meanwhile, a bill of Rs 1,100 for 60,000 litres would go up to Rs 1,155. A non-domestic consumer, paying Rs 1,500 for 60,000 litres, would have to shell out Rs 1,575. An industrial consumer having a bill of Rs 2,150 for 50,000 litres will see the amount rising to Rs 2,257.5.

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