The new water prices may become effective from July 1
Water tariff for residential and commercial use in Dhaka will be increased again amid the pandemic.
The Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) has already proposed an increase in the price of water.
Under the proposal, the price of water will be increased by 5%. The next board meeting of Dhaka Wasa, scheduled to be held on Tuesday, may approve the proposal.
Consumers will have to pay Tk15.18 for each unit (1,000 litre) of water for residential use, instead of Tk14.46.
For commercial use, Wasa is to adjust price per unit to Tk42 against the existing rate of Tk40.65.
The new water prices will come into effect from July 1.
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.
However, Dhaka Wasa said it would go for an increase in the price of water again in line with instructions from the government regarding adjustments in the production and supply cost of water following the price hike of gas and electricity, and to balance water sales with the real cost of production and distribution.
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 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.
“We wouldn’t want to hike the price. But due to 6-7% inflation, we have to adjust it,” said Dr Engr Golam Mostafa, chairman of Dhaka Wasa Board.
“The gap between production cost and sale is around Tk10-12. We want to minimize the gap following government instructions,” he told Dhaka Tribune.
Since the Awami League returned to power in 2009, the price of water has increased 13 times in 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.