5% annual rise in water charges

To be implemented from next financial year for all categories

The State government has issued orders indicating that water charges in the State will be subject to a ”5% annual increase” from the next financial year for all categories of consumers.

Issued by the Water Resources Department, the February 10 order is meant to meet certain conditions set by the Central government for making the State eligible for the additional borrowing of 2% of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP), the department noted.

The Kerala Water Authority (KWA) had not issued any formal order fixing revised tariffs for the different consumer categories, KWA officials said.

The KWA water tariffs were last revised in 2014. According to the February 10 order, the existing water charges, including sewerage charges, were being notified as floor rates ”with 5% annual increase from next financial year onwards for all categories as part of implementing reforms in this sector.”

Following the COVID-19 outbreak, the Union Finance Ministry had allowed States to make 2% additional borrowing of GSDP during 2020-21. Part of this borrowing was subject to the implementation of certain reforms in a number of areas, including urban local body revenues and the power sector.

“As per the reforms for strengthening local bodies, the State will have to notify floor rates of user charges in respect of the provision of water supply, drainage and sewerage which reflect current costs/past inflation,” the Water Resources Department noted in its order.

Although the cash-strapped KWA has been clamouring for water tariff revision for some time now, the State government has not permitted it.

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