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Happy with BWSSB's services and performance?

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silkboard's picture

BWSSB's customers ...

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Is it safe to assume that 100% of Bengaluru is either already a customer or has a right to be BWSSB's customer?

Either way, water costs a lot less than transportation (where the cost is hard money, as well as time). So we can expect "I don't care much" to be the winner of this poll.

manjari's picture

Poll to see how many get tank water

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I stayed in a well known apartment on ORR and saw multiple trucks entering the complex on a daily basis.

The apartment advertised 24hrs water availability, and I have to say that it wasn't just tall claims, they made sure we had it and I doubt if that had anything to do with BWSSB.

So I guess it fair to assume that all those who rely on other sources for availability of water, would chose "I dont care much"

It would be very interesting to know how many BWSSB users would say "I don't care".

sanjayv's picture

No, people have to care

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If anybody has any sense, they will care.  I stay in a large apartment in the Kundanahalli area.  One of the criteria I used to buy the place was the availability of cauvery water supply.  And yes, it was awesome the forst few years, except for the days that the power went off and the pumping went haywire from TK Halli.

Then slowly the apt filled up to capacity, we have very high occupancy levels, and more apartments mushroomed in the area.  Now, water supply is hugely erratic.  Currently, it comes once in 5 days.  You will not get a straight answer from BWSSB on why this is so.  I have heard explanations which are obviously wrong, and some networking in the neighborhood will give you a list of explanations BWSS dishes out.  Our meter went bad, and we have been waiting for months despite paying the steep price for a new meter. So you have to follow up and follow up and deal with sly demands from certain people that some greasing will speed up the process. Considering that we are billed based on a six month average since the meter is not working well (at which time our water supply was good), we are paying for water that has not been supplied.

There have been days where we were due to get water and the valveman said he could not come since he has no transportation.  Our maint staff has gone to BWSSB office, picked the guy up so he can open the valve and dropped him back!

Of course, to ensure 24 hour water supply, we now have to buy tanker water.  It is not easy to get water for a large apartment complex "on demand".  Since tanker water is 5-6 times BWSSB water, it destroys your maintenance budget. So you always try to optimize such that BWSSB water is used.  But like I mentioned, BWSSB water does not come predictably, with predictable pressure. The quality of water is terrible.  Hard water with a good dose of nitrates - indicating sewage contamination.

If anybody votes "I do not care", it will be because they have not bothered to find out more about where their water comes from and how much it costs them,, monetarily and health wise.

In BWSSB's defence, lot of the problems I mention above are not fully their fault.  However, if they are more open and transparent and responsive, it will make things easier to manage for citizens.

manjari's picture

Do people really know?

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@sanjayv

You say "If anybody votes "I do not care", it will be because they have not bothered to find out more about where their water comes from and how much it costs them,, monetarily and health wise."

My question is how many people know?

I can bet there will be few who don't even know where they get their water from, and these will not be the ones relying only on BWSSB.
In my opnion most people start finding out and care only when there is a trouble. As long there is water available 24hs there is no issue and right now all the big apartments offer it. 

I agree with silkboard that the winner of the poll is likely to be "I don't care" and you are also right, people do not know how much the water costs them and what is the actually cost of water. How many people know that the rich pay less for water than the poor in some cases?

Call me a pessimist but I think not enough people care.

silkboard's picture

taking interest in BWSSB

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That may be right Manjari. Not many people care about BWSSB. One day without running water could change that equation though. And may be, may be, while the Bus Day at BMTC means more buses on roads, a "water day" equivalent for BWSSB should be a day without tap water supply - so that people wake up.

Talking about cost, how much 'subsidy' is BWSSB working with? More than BMTC (we all shout when they get expensive Volvos from JNNURM), or lot less than them?

murali772's picture

no future with BWSSB

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My response is a clear "no", and the reasons are detailed here.

Hopefully, the water-supply outsourcing deal between Mysore City Corporation and JUSCO will provide a good model for other municipalities to follow.

BWSSB is another parastatal that has to be either converted to a regulatory body or just wound up.
 

Muralidhar Rao
manjari's picture

Facts about water we drink

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@silkboard: I dont remember the exact figures but from what I remember from all the discussion and interaction with water experts is that BWSSB makes most of the money from giving water to industries and gives out water to rest for household purpose at a subsidized cost... Again I dont have the figures... let me find them out.

As for the water day.. I think it is an excellent idea and I am sure BWSSB would be keen to work with us on that too...
Something we should consider for sure.
When I think of water day, the thoughts that come to mind are... using less water that day.. not washing car that day... basically save water. In addition what would be wonderful would be if we could announce one "Did you know" about water each hour on Radio or send out sms or something in those lines for a day.

Should definitely try to get some interesting data and put it up on the site.

abidpqa's picture

My house is getting water

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My house is getting water from CMC, I think. Is it part of BWSSB? Last year, in the summer, the water supply was every 15 days or so. The tanker supply here is also very expensive. In some other places I know, it is around Rs. 200. But here it was Rs. 500 in the summer (now Rs. 300). Should the BWSSB also control the cost of tanker water also.

I think the reason for scarcity is that people are wasting water. Subsidized water should be restricted to 100 liters per day per person. That may be difficult because it will be difficult to know the number of people using single connection.

murali772's picture

out-sourcing the only way out

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In Mumbai, electricity supply, transport and water supply are under the corporation. Even in Bangalore, BBMP was in charge of water supply until it was relieved of this task over the years for better efficiency. Though BWSSB has a law of its own, fundamentally it should be answerable to the city corporators and mayor. At present, the mayor’s writ does not run in the BWSSB. The BMRG bill is a good way to go forward. I am not speaking about the grounds of competency here.

For the full report in today's Bangalore Mirror, click here

And, quite rightly as the article further points out  "As if the mess BBMP is making of running Bangalore is not enough, it may soon get the additional task of supplying water to the city". The city governance bill will in fact bring not just water supply, but even power supply, bus transport services, traffic policing, etc also under the purview of the BBMP, apart from the many portfolios it's already handling. And, very clearly, no municipality anywhere in the world can be expected to have the kind of capacity in-house to be able to manage all these portfolios effectively, clearly pointing out to the need, once again, to outsource the operational functions to professional agencies.
 

Muralidhar Rao
silkboard's picture

awareness first

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BWSSB will become better (or go away, or become more outsurced - whatever) only after more people care about the water woes of the city. People caring about things is how all changes start in a democracy.

So manjari, we can start with just putting out lots of data about BWSSB on Gyan (like we did for BMTC). Since we know BWSSB is not as co-operative as BMTC when it comes to data, let us just start with an RTI.

murali772's picture

the Bangalore Patrol study

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May be a good idea to team up with Bangalore Patrol, who seem to have done an extensive exercise already - check this

Muralidhar Rao
kumarvjn's picture

An Experience with BWSSB

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I live in a small layout in Bangalore West.

This incident took place about 6-7 years back.

When this layout was formed, pvc pipes were laid for water supply.  At that time BWSSB was not providing water to this layout.  Some where during 2001 or 2002 this layout started getting water.

Then all of a sudden before a assembly election, the BWSSB decided to change the pvc pipes with metal pipes.

Project went on like this:

1. Digging of trenches and leaving open for in that condition - 1 to 2 month

2. Pipe laying 10-15 days.  After laying of pipes, the trenches were not closed properly.  The people who closed laid the pipes told that it was not thier responsibility to close the trench.

  Pipes were not laid properly.  No devices and no instruments were used.

3. Visited BWSSB office several times and briefed them about unclosed trenches.

4. Finally one day they closed the trenches by just pulling the mud.

5. I think entire process lasted for 6-7 months.

7. Then corpoartion laid tar on this surface.

8. Afterwards, a house consturction started in a near by site.  The lorries carrying sand, brick etc. started running over this area.

9. When one such lorry passed on this surface, the filled surface caved in and the pipe below the surface started leaking.  When this was brought to the notice of that site owner, he was least bothered to respond.

10. Then for nearly for 1 to 1 1/2 month I called/I visited all most all the BWSSB offices from our layout to Kaveri Bhavan and nothing happened. Nearly 10 visits and 20 to 30 calls.

11. Neighbors started asking why are you not complaining and I told them about this whole story.

12. During one such visit, one of the staff told, that they will award contract only after finding more number of leaks.

13. Finally, some private contractor came and repaired the pipe.  Asked our house and opposite house to pay for the repair and collected the money and went away.

During that one to one and half month period at least I had seen 3-4 places where water was wasting because of breakage.

Whole story taught me one thing.  There is no point in complaining to public offices.

 

 

Vasanth's picture

complained many times locally,no action,but helpline worked

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 We had a problem in our home. Water was not coming even for 2 hrs. While coming the pressure was too less and the tank was not filling up. We many times complained to the local BWSSB office. Answers they give were so much irritating. Person who takes care of this has not come almost daily.

A circle near my home which is very next to BWSSB office had lot of water leaking.Once I was able to meet AE and informed him this might be the problem, he said it is not related to that even without looking at my face and no action was taken. Finally I met main engineer one day and told this. He ordered to checkup, one BWSSB came to home and asked 'Yenri Nimm Problammu?'. We live in ground floor and we showed them wanter won't come to the tap which is at the lowest level. Water will fall to sump at very low pressure. They said water is coming know, many do not even get water. You should be satisified with it and asked his teammate to close it.

All my neighbours have Borewell and they are 'don't care' to this.

I got so irritated. I called up BWSSB 24hr helpline. Then followup calls came from BWSSB local office in much more polite manner. We also informed local corporator. Finally they fixed the leaking pipe in the circle which I had suggested them earlier. This resolved the problem at our home. Meanwhile, BWSSB 24hr helpline had called up twice or thrice to checkup if the problem is fixed or not.

 

 

 

Vasanth's picture

Borewell Water Wastage and Ground Water Table Reduction

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 Ground water table of the city will decrease with excessive borewells. People get permissions by bribing or influence and every home / apartment has got borewells. This is a very bad move.

Our Mayor once he was elected said that he will put Borewells all over Bangalore and connect to regular BWSSB water pipes to resolve Bangalore Water Problem. Once Environmentalists shouted, he kept mum.

Lots of water is wasted especially for washing cars in full pressure. People have to realize the importance of water. Electronic Media is the rightway to educate people. Earlier it was done by Doordarshan. Now with so many channels, no one takes interest for campaign to save water. Short ads when viewership is high for a particular channel such as Worldcup matches will reach more people. 

Ravi_D's picture

No, not impressed considering

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No, not impressed considering what could be done. But have to say that they are one of the more approachable civic agencies where I live. One or two visits to their office seem to get someone to respond to typical problems we encounter (water pressure issues, sewage blocks etc).

Make ppl pay what it costs

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Privatisation or no privatisation, the first step is that BWSSB should stop loosing money. Its only when better service stops meaning increased losses will things start to change.

As to the the concerns of inclusion and equity dont understand why something like cash transfers cant be tried. Read this: http://www.hindustantimes.com/Cashing-in-on-PDS-reforms/Article1-662872.aspx


silkboard's picture

pay the 'true cost'?

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Sometimes, I try to reason out this big irony that things that we absolutely can't live without come almost free to us (water, air), and things that we can cost the most (jewelery etc?). This is probably the way it should be, right, or else the poor won't be able to 'live'. But on the other hand, we probably don't care much for water, air and trees because we 'perceive' them to be low cost, and subsequently, of low value.

I wonder what is the true cost for 1 liter of water in Bangalore or Karnataka. Only when we know a number, will we be able to talk about subsidy amounts etc.

Wouldn't the true cost have to include things like the nature of source (replenishable source or not?), recycling approach at consumer's end, besides standard things like promised duration and quality of supply?

sanjayv's picture

True cost of Cauvery water in B'lore

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A number I have heard is Rs 24 per kilo liter considering "production costs" and Rs 37 per kilo liter considering Unaccounted Water (losses and theft).  There is a citation for this based on a study.  Numbers may be outdated because of change in electricity costs.

For reference, most of us pay Rs 8 per kilo liter or so (domestic) assuming you are an avergae consumer.  Tanker water in bangalore costs in the neighborhood of Rs 50 per kilo liter.  In some poor areas where people buy pots of clean water, I have heard that it translates to Rs 300 per kilo liter (did quick math and it made sense).  Rs 10 for a pot of water.

silkboard's picture

Rs 24 - 37 per Kilo Liter?

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Unaccounted losses are unacceptably high appx 36% (as per last year's reports). Taking 37 / kilo liter, it includes "production", supply, and subsidy for free connections.

So if we are paying only Rs 8 / KL, and consuming conservative 25K liters / month, monthly subsidy would be 25 x (37-8) = Rs 725 / month

In the same range/ballpark as in zenrainman's comment here (http://praja.in/en/gyan/b...):

Every family in Bangalore which consumes 25,000 litres of water every month gets a subsidy of Rs 399/-

This family pays Rs 25 as Sanitary cess and gets a subsidy of Rs 600/- every month (since this is the cost of treating sewage after collection and conveyance). So every family connected to the BWSSB gets Rs 1000/- a month as subsidy. 

A poor family in a slum pays Rs 1 per 10 litres pot or Rs 100 a kilolitre. The richer ones pay Rs 6 or Rs 9 a kilo-litre. To use a Sulabh Shouchalaya you pay Rs 2 per use or Rs 10 per family or Rs 300/- per month. The rich pay Rs 25 for their shit to defile all the water bodies around.

Time for a BWSSB numbers discussion, which should eventually lead to a meeting or RTI with BWSSB, depending on how open they are to share their operating numbers.


murali772's picture

reiterating the point made earlier

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How are these tankers discharging effluents into the treated water channel? Who allows them to do it? According to investigators, including Lake Development Authority’s U V Singh, who was assaulted on Sunday, this happens in connivance with people within the BWSSB.

For the full report in the TOI on the nexus between the waste disposal mafia and BWSSB officials, click here.

The above provides added reason, if required, to show that the BWSSB is incapable of managing its mandate. The answer perhaps lies here.
 

Muralidhar Rao
silkboard's picture

illegal discharge

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Haven't seen them recently, possibly because I am not looking out for them anymore. but till early last year I used to notice tanker trucks idling right next to Varthur Lake. I always wondered what they did there, and then noticed the "purposeful" leakage streaming down from their tanks. Asked around a few people, and then understood what they were doing.

sanjayv's picture

Industrial effluent treatment

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This is another interesting aspect which I was not awareof at all - the fact that BWSSB treats industrial effluents.  This is a real tricky piece.  Domestric sewage is a somewhat more bening item in the sense that it contains mostly water and organic matter.  Some amount of household chemicals and cleaners, detergents, soaps etc get into the waste.  Then you also tend to have pharmaceutical waste (say you flush your spare meds down the toilet) which are low concentration, but can have a huge effect on the ecosystem and is very, very, difficult to clean.

Traditional technology (Aerobic digestion essentially) can handle a good chunk of the organics.  It struggles with the nitrates and phosphates.  Most of the BWSSB plant technology does not have the capability to address this component.  But if there are industrial effluents with heavy metals and petroleum components - oil, grease etc., a traditional STP cannot do much with that.

It would be very illuminating to understand what sort of wastes BWSSB accepts from industries.  How do they know what they get is what they are told it will be?

 

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