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Do you use commercial water?

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Reasons for starting this poll

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Lately, I have heard a lot of buzz around campaigns being started to oppose privatisation of water. So I wanted to do a quick poll of how many people actually run their lives without any commercial/private water.

When I was bangalore I did not know of anyone who was using only BWSSB water. Even in Delhi, along with the Delhi Jal board water, we also depend on groundwater for a substantial percentage of our requirement.

This poll is a way for me to find out whether we are being hypocritical when we say we are against privatisation of water or I am wrong in thinking so.



idontspam's picture

 Good poll, just last week I

243 users have liked.

 Good poll, just last week I stood with my non borewell neighbours who rely on BWSSB water for all their needs and found that it was going to be a very difficult summer. Supply is down to 11K liters in our part of town and all had a feeling that there is unfair distribution during tough times. THe valve operations & connections favour some over the others and this puts some people at a disadvantage over others especially in our area. I believe it has become difficult to live purely on BWSSB supplied water.

idontspam's picture

So is your indication that

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So is your indication that people who rely on non BWSSB water in this poll cant be against privatizing O&M of the services? 

sanjayv's picture

connection between poll and privatization?

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Shekhar,  not sure what the connection is between privatization and this poll.  I depend on a variety of sources for water.  Does that mean that I should automatically support privitization? BWSSB supply is non existent and we all think that some gol maal is going on.  No way to prove if this is a fact or not, but based on some monetary demands that have been sent our way, I would not be surprised.

With a commodity like water, I am never sure if privatization is a solution.  Water is essential, precious and finite.  The true cost of water production for Bangalore is said to be of the order of Rs 30 a liter.  Most average domestic consumers pay Rs 8 a liter.  How do you privatize this broken model?  Even if you come up with a model, is there enough scope to squeeze efficiencies that a private player can make enough money without impacting the average consumer, or at least, the really poor ones?  When commercial water rates are much higher, how are the incentives of private player and the average consumer going to align?  As a private player in my area, I would supply ITPL and not worry about the residents!

Are there incentives in the new model for consrvation, watrshed management, sewage treatment and disposal.  It is just not clear that a private player will solve all our ills.  The more important thing is the need for a major policy level change in how we manage our water and the institutions that manage our resources.  There are plenty of well researched ideas and concepts out there that can be tried, no have to be tried to forestall disaster.  Our current political framework and skill level of governmental bodies lacks the capacity to solve these issues, sadly.

idontspam's picture

Charge true cost

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 FIrst thing is to pay the true cost of water. Beyond the first x liters the rates must increase per unit in slabs as consumption goes up. The people who consume more should pay more.

silkboard's picture

lower the cost, collect it all

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So the poll is assuming that those who buy water from private parties are tacitly in support of "privatization".

Privatization, hmm. The likes of Murali don't help their cause by using this blanket term - 'privatization'. The term implies that everything about water would be privatized. "Outsourcing" would be a better term to use. The term would imply that public (aka government) would retain control, but operations would be handed out to private parties.

Outsourcing water distribution could be done with goals like these

  • Lower the cost. Rs 30 / KL is BWSSB's best effort. Why would a more efficient party not manage Rs 24 / KL ?
  • Improve collections. 36% of water in the city is not paid for, remember?
  • Progressively reduce "subsidy" by 20% year over year.

If BWSSB itself is willing to sign up for above three, then why think of outsourcing. But will they? I bet NOT.

murali772's picture


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The likes of Murali don't help their cause by using this blanket term - 'privatization'. The term implies that everything about water would be privatized. "Outsourcing" would be a better term to use. The term would imply that public (aka government) would retain control, but operations would be handed out to private parties.

@SB  -   I am reproducing below the exact words in the 4th para of my original blog (check here), cited by Shekhar in the opening post (Can I request Shekhar to provide the link in his original post also?)

Those days the scope of the contracts may have been for total privatisation. But, today, it's largely for outsourcing of water supply.

One would have expected you of all people to read fully what I have written before making such comments. The blog caption itself refers to what is being proposed as "so-called privatisation".

Muralidhar Rao

Apologies for being rhetorical

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I realise that this poll was rhetorical to a certain extent, but it was an attempt to make people realise that private water is already a reality of our lives, whether we like it or not. And instead of debating about what solutions are the need of the hour our energies are getting diverted towards blanket protests against privatisation. To someone who does not have access to quality water in a dependable manner does it really matter whether he gets water through a private or a public operator?

As SB correctly points out ( I am also at fault here) when we say privatisation we essentially mean outsourcing of operations to private operators which continue to be regulated by the public and that message does not come out. Privatisation does not mean replacing one government monopoly with a private one. True spirit of privatisation will only be fulfilled when competition in the sector thrives. Besides the pricing issues  need to be resolved privatisation or no privatisation. 

Here is an article that I had come across:

How do we create competitive delivery of urban water? Empower each ward of the city to contract with a company (government or private) for the delivery of water. A contestable market would emerge with multiple delivery companies. If a ward finds the company failing on its contract, it would be easier to find an alternative—a company from the neighbouring ward.

Those who cannot afford to pay the rate at which their ward has contracted for water delivery can be helped in at least two ways. One, decide on ‘free' allocation per family and then pay for that amount of water from general tax revenue. The charges for the water consumed above the ‘free' quota will be paid by each family. The second method is to subsidise only the poor. The ward identifies the poor families and pays for their water bill fully, or up to a specified limit.

Enough has also been said and written by Zenrainman, praja folks and others. All of us agree that there is a need for major changes at the policy level as far as water is concerned. Lets debate around that, and if we think privatisation/encouraging competition will have its benefits, let us not get stopped by ideology. That is what I am afraid of!


psaram42's picture

Drinking Water Problem

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We must thank our stars that bore well water is still available to fall back upon. Compulsory RWH / charging ground water table for 60x40 and above sites house holds is a smart move by the government. We need to harvest / use for charging ground water on the road surface too.

Preventing Sewage water mixing with rain water as in our storm water drains is another important issue. We [BBMP ? ] have miserably failed in this department. 

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