Odisha to install water meters for commercial users

Bhubaneswar, Nov 11: The state housing and urban development (H&UD) department has initiated steps to install water meters for commercial, industrial and institutional users of urban areas.

In the first step, the department plans to install radio frequency based automatic meter reading devices for industrial and commercial consumers and is deliberating on the proposal of who should bear the cost.

"Currently, the issue of meter installation is in the primary stage. We will soon take a decision on whether the industrial consumers should bear the entire cost or only the maintenance cost," said an official source with direct knowledge of the matter.

According to State Urban Water Supply Policy 2013, it has been decided to install metered water connection for all kinds of consumers by 2026-27 with a total project cost of Rs 750 crore, in a phased manner. The metering should start in 2015-16 and must cover at least 10 per cent of total consumers, according to the policy formulated last year.

Initially, the H&UD department wants to install meters for commercial users and then the facility would be extended to domestic consumers. The department has been empowered by the cabinet to fix project-specific water rate for water supply to institutional and industrial consumers including those availing connections under public-private partnership (PPP) mode.

The water rate can be revised from time to time based on project viability. The department will have a separate tariff for slum areas.

In Odisha, while the Water Supply and Sewerage Board takes project construction task for urban areas after completion of the project, the Public Health and Engineering Organisation takes control of the operation and maintenance of the projects.

At present, the PHEO is supplying close to 800 million liters of clean per day to the 103 urban local bodies (ULBs) and two small towns, covering a population of about five million out of total 42 million population of the state.

The state government has approved a sum of Rs 4,380 crore as investment amount for installing new water pipelines, installing meters and other reforms mentioned in the policy framework to be carried out between 2015 and 2027.