Project to check water thieving fails

Project to check water thieving fails

DH Graphic/Ramu M

Since it began the Unaccounted For Water (UFW) project in 2013, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) has identified 7,695 illegal water connections.

Despite regularising nearly 5,000 connections, the board is struggling to stop the illegal means of drawing water, which, a senior BWSSB official said, require “specialised skills”.

“They use a parallel pipeline that runs below the regular house service connection. It can’t be noticed unless we dig it up,” the official said. “They install motors at BWSSB feeder lines to draw water directly and threaten officials who seize the motors.”

Meters broken 

Perhaps the most sophisticated way of stealing water is to break the meter so that the usage cannot be registered. Consumers continue to use illegal means to steal water, unmindful of the penalties. While the BWSSB identifies and disconnects the water line, consumers restore them after the board officials have gone, an engineer said.

“Many households with 10 members pay the minimum charge of Rs 200, while smaller families in the same street pay double that amount. We need to crack such cases,” the engineer said.

Launched in 2013, the UFW project aimed to curb 50% of the unaccounted water in the city.

The BWSSB was accounting for only 700 MLD (Million Litre per Day) out of the 1,400 MLD drawn from the Cauvery river. Leakage in old pipes, illegal connections and water supplied to slum areas did not earn revenue for the board.

The project was initially launched in the south division consisting of old Bengaluru areas, where ageing pipelines were replaced and house service connections strengthened.

The performance period is going on in the division where the work has been completed and the board is reviewing the efficacy of the project.

The UFW project has been extended to the West and Central zones as well. In the coming days, the board will take up another UFW project to replace old pipelines 100%.

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