Price of water to be adjusted in future in line with proposal for 5% increase, says chairman of Dhaka Wasa Board
The Dhaka Wasa Board on Tuesday did not approve the proposal for a hike in water tariff – for residential and commercial use – due to rising Covid-19 cases.
A meeting was held in this regard in Dhaka on Tuesday.
"The Covid-19 situation is getting worse in the country. So, we didn't approve the proposal of hiking water tariff for now," said Engineer Golam Mostafa, chairman of Dhaka Wasa Board.
"But the price will be adjusted in the future, in line with the proposal for a 5% increase in the price of water," he told Dhaka Tribune after the meeting.
The Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) had recently sent a proposal on increasing the price of water to the Dhaka Wasa Board.
Under the proposal, the price of water will be increased by 5%. Consumers would then have to pay Tk15.18 for each unit (1,000 litre) of water for residential use, instead of Tk14.46.
For commercial use, Dhaka Wasa is set to adjust price per unit to Tk42, against the existing rate of Tk40.65.
According to the proposal, the new water prices are scheduled to come into effect from July 1.
"As there are more than three months in hand to implement the plan, we didn't approve the proposal for now," said Dr Golam Mostafa.
"But we will approve the proposal in the future to minimize the gap between production cost and sale," he added.
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Dhaka Wasa hiked water prices by about 24.97% last year. Therefore, it had been assumed that the price would not be hiked this year as the Covid-19 pandemic had severely hampered livelihoods.
Prof M Shamsul Alam, an advisor to the Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB), a consumer rights organization, said raising water prices at this time of the coronavirus pandemic was inhumane.
“The cost that [Dhaka] Wasa is calculating for water production is not acceptable. Let them hold a public hearing to bring transparency to their accounts. Then the real picture of production and expenditure will come out,” he told Dhaka Tribune on Monday.
Since the Awami League returned to power in 2009, the price of water has increased 13 times over the last 13 years. This time, if the decision to increase the price is enforced, the price of water will have increased 14 times in all.
Meanwhile, people have been complaining about the quality of Dhaka Wasa water for a long time. A study by Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) in April last year also raised the issue of consumer dissatisfaction.
The study found that more than one-third of customers were dissatisfied with Dhaka Wasa services due to the supply of low quality water.