New Delhi, 12 January
An NGO working on water conservation issue has suggested the optimum utilisation of 666 litres of water that Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government committed to provide to each household ‘free of cost’ under the scheme ‘lifeline water’.
According to Citizen’s Front for Water Democracy (CFWD), the scheme will bring multifold benefits to the DJB (Delhi Jal Board) consumers. On the one hand it ensures right to water to everyone (for the time being only to those who have metered connections) and on the other hand, it promotes water conservation and prompts water users to reduce their water consumption to avail the benefit. This scheme would encourage the water consumers to use water saving techniques to reduce their water consumption. "Most people aren’t aware of how much water an average household uses each month. In Delhi a typical household uses around 20-30 Kilo liters (Kl) of water a month which is more in summer and less in winter. With the launching of this scheme, consumers will hopefully use this precious resource more cautiously and judiciously because now onwards every drop of piped water will count and every consumer will try to conserve this important resource to save money on their water bill", said SA Naqvi, convener CFWD.
According to CFWD, those families who would limit their consumption upto 20 Kl per month will get the benefit of ‘life line water scheme’ and could save per month Rs 241 including water charge Rs 66.50 + sewerage charge Rs 39.90 + service charge Rs 133.10 + cess Rs 1.33.
However, if they fail to do so, not only they would be deprived of the subsidy but also they would cough up much more even if they exceed their water usage by a liter and would come under the bracket of 21 Kl. There will be a steep rise in water bills starting from 21 Kl of water consumption, such consumers would pay Rs 340  including water charge Rs 86.47 + sewerage charge Rs 51.88 + service charge Rs 199.65 + cess Rs 1.73) for consumption of 21 Kl or higher if they consume more than 21 Kl.
Further, the NGO highlighted at present, the immediate beneficiaries of lifeline water scheme are around 8,56,000 out of roughly 1,700,000 domestic water consumers of DJB. The number of beneficiaries may increase in future by another 1.25 lakh when multi-storied buildings with single water connection will go for separate individual water connections for each flat or dwelling to avail benefit of this scheme.
On the other hand, as per DJB’s own record more than 3,50,000 water connections have no meter or faulty meters. "Most of these consumers are being charged at an exorbitant price as their water bills are calculated on an average basis that is fixed at 22 Kl of water consumption and they are charged Rs 372 with water charge Rs 106.40 + sewerage charge Rs 63.86 + service charge Rs 199.65 + cess Rs 2.12," said Mr Naqvi.
Further, CFWD has also planned an awareness programme so that maximum benefit of free water scheme may be extracted. As per the prescribed norms of the CPHEEO (Central Public Health Environmental Engineering Organisation) for domestic water use, 675 liters (or 135 liters each) for a family of 5 persons are required because 40 percent of water is used in bathrooms; 22 per cent is used for toilets; 15 per cent in washing of clothes and other consumption in washing of kitchen utensils, cleaning of house, drinking purposes.
As per the standard practice, a toilet uses 30 liters and around 55 liters are used in bathrooms every day per person. "Therefore, replacing or modifying existing older toilet by a ULF (ultra-low flush) toilet, water consumption can be reduced by 50 per cent. Similarly, by using low-flow aerators, showerheads and other water-saving devices, water usage can be reduced in the bathrooms and other places to save water is through retrofitting," said Mr Naqvi.