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The water tax is expected to be hiked by 8% in the next financial year, but citizens are wondering if it will lead to better services.

The leak detection units had started functioning in 16 wards to reduce contamination of water. But in the last one year, only wards A and E were added.

“Each unit has about 30 personnel, who are responsible for checking leakages in water pipelines. Across 18 wards, there are 500 personnel. But this year, along with taking it across all wards, concentration on unauthorized connections and converting non-revenue water into revenue will be looked at essentially. Besides, the water distribution improvement programme is underway on a pilot basis in H-West and T wards. We will look at its implementation in other wards too,” a senior hydraulic department official said. The project was aimed at improving distribution of available water to achieve equitable distribution.

But some residents in whose wards the project has been implemented on a pilot basis said they were clueless about it. Bandra resident Anil Joseph, chairman, Perry Road Residents’ Association, said, “We are not aware of the project even though one of its features is to improve customer relationship management. As tax-paying citizens we are paying for the pilferage that is going to slums. Illegal water connections are being taken to slums and tax-paying citizens are bearing the burden.”

Shyama Kulkarni, another Bandra resident, said considering that the water tax is expected to be hiked, they must get better services in terms of cleaner water and increased water pressure.

Veena Singhal, chairperson, Peddar Road Residents’ Association, said even today there are many buildings in their areas which call for water tankers, as more and more buildings are coming up. “We have been demanding water audits for many years so that we know the consumption in our area and how much is the shortfall,” she said.

Source: Feb 2, 2015, TNN