Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (DWASA) is set to increase its water tariffs by five per cent for both domestic and industrial consumers from July, officials said.
"The proposal for raising water tariffs has already been approved by DWASA board. The enhanced tariffs will come into effect from July 01 in Dhaka and Narayanganj," DWASA managing director (MD) Taqsem A Khan told reporters after a meeting on its water supply measures during Ramadan.
According to the decision, the prices will be increased to Tk 11.02 per 1,000 litres from Tk 10.50 for domestic consumers, and Tk 35.28 from Tk 33.60 per 1,000 litres for industrial usages.
High-ups of DWASA termed the tariff hike 'annual adjustment with inflation'.
But consumers and consumers' rights activists heavily criticised the move, saying that the authority does not have any moral basis to make such hike due to its failure to ensure uninterrupted supply of safe and adequate drinking water.
The DWASA MD said Section 23 of WASA Act 1996 allows DWASA board to increase water prices by five per cent annually.
"It's not price hike. We've made adjustment with inflation although the inflation rate is much higher than our adjustment," he further noted.
Another official said as the increased price is much below the cost of production, the government would be required to provide 30-33 per cent subsidy to enable the service provider to supply water to consumers.
"Water production and management cost for per 1,000 litres is about Tk 17," he added.
With the latest enhancement, the water tariff rose almost double to Tk 11.02 from Tk 5.75 in 2009, when the Awami League-led alliance came to power.
In 2016, the water price was increased in two phases, once in July and again in November, by 22 per cent. On the following year, it was increased again by five per cent.
When contacted, President of Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) Ghulam Rahman was very critical of the decision, terming it unfortunate and unacceptable.
"DWASA has no moral base to raise the tariff, as it has completely failed to ensure uninterrupted supply of pure and adequate water for the customers."
He demanded strict measures from DWASA to remove its corruption, mismanagement and inefficiency.
Meanwhile, to ensure smooth supply of water during the month of Ramadan when its demand normally goes up, DWASA will keep motorised and non-motorised vehicles as well as plastic water-tanks and trolleys ready at various points to supply pure drinking water at free of cost to the fasting people during iftar.
It has also taken measures to keep generators ready for providing power backup (to water pumps), while complain centre will be in operation round the clock to serve its customers, giving mosques top priority.
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