Water price hike imminent

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

The National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) says the Government will not be able to indefinitely put off a revision of the water tariff, as the production cost of a unit of water had been drastically increased since the last revision in 2012.
NWSDB Chairman K.A. Ansar told The Sunday Morning that the board was charging only 25% of the production cost, and therefore, it would not be able to continue supplying water under the present prices.
“We have requested the Cabinet to increase the tariffs, and the Cabinet has appointed a subcommittee; now we are waiting for the subcommittee’s recommendations,” he added.
When asked whether they have decided in what percentage the tariffs should be increased, the Chairman said that the percentage would be decided by the subcommittee.
According to the NWSDB, the board had to incur Rs. 47 to purify a unit of water, but a unit of water is provided to the consumer at Rs 12. However, the NWSDB had gained a profit of Rs. 1 billion in 2016 and Rs. 3.75 billion last year.
Currently, the pipe-borne water usage stands at 2.2 million units consumed by around 11 million consumers – which is half the country’s population.