BWSSB needs to raise prices, but not this way!

BWSSB’s decision to charge higher water charges only from those who live in apartment communities but not from those who live in single family homes makes no sense, nor is it actually executable.

There is a tendency in the agencies to impose higher expectations on those in apartment communities, and even this is done selectively (we are seeing this in SWM also, having to fight against such discrimination).

Moreover, those who think up such things are always careful to exempt communities like LIC quarters and BSNL quarters and KEB quarters, because these are not ‘private’ apartment communities.

I agree that BWSSB needs to raise prices on anything more than lifeline water supply, and those who can pay more should be the ones to bear the cost burden. But why exempt single family homes in layouts? Why include villa communities along with apartment communities, if ‘apartment’ is the deciding factor? Why exempt government apartment communities?

I think the answer is that agencies try to impose these costs on those who they think lack the capacity for political backlash – presumably because ‘such people do not vote.’ Showing up on election day is important, not just to select winners and losers, but also to avoid becoming a targeted group.

There is a perfectly good way to set a new tariff structure for BWSSB, and this should be done by an independent regulatory authority, based on some credible thinking. Without that, this too will land in the courts, and the department heads will simply get a pounding. In the last hearing of the SWM case, the judge had asked the BBMP Commissioner if he knows how to read and write !!

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About Ashwin Mahesh 96 Articles
Ashwin Mahesh has been involved in public policy for Bengaluru through his work with the Karnataka government. The views expressed here are his own. He is a member of the Lok Satta party. He is also CEO of Mapunity Information Services, and a director at Oorvani Media, publisher of Citizen Matters and India Together. He is also a visiting faculty with the Centre for Public Policy at IIM Bangalore.


  1. Mr Ashwin Mahesh is correct.Common man is in dark about the financial activities of BWSSB. I do not know whether any performance audit has been done by by reputed independent agency at any time ? The Government appointed Regulatory Authorities lack professional credence. No one knows how the selection of Regulatory Authorities are done.
    First BWSSB should concentrate on supply of water to the City 23 hours.

  2. Hi KeerthiKumar. Apartments do get a single connection for whole complex. But there are water meters installed by BWSSB for them as well. So apartments are already paying the right price for their usage. But why is government trying to differentiate the apartment dwellers. This only shows the exploitation attitude of the government. They assume that all apartment owners are high earners and hence lets exploit them. It only shows a sick mentality. There is lack of unity among apartment dwellers and so govt uses it as an opportunity to exploit us as there will be no political backlash.

  3. There should be uniform in any tariff,here. the consume of water in one connection is more.There is lot difference in dwelling house and apartments.To apartment one connection used higher delivery connection and more water will flow, at any given time more water will store in water tank/sump,where as in single house the sump will also smaller the delivery pipe a smaller size.For Example in Ideal Homes,Rajarajeswainagar there earlier are all single, now lot of apartments came and apartment made their association and they are good books with BWSSB staff including valve man and they feed by money and get all water, where as poor single house people starving for water.The people living in apartment high income people and made waste more water, there is nothing wrong in charging higher tariff.

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