Monday, January 06, 2014

Delhi's water for free

The new Delhi government, keeping its poll promise has announced 20KL of free water a month to each household with a metered connection. Use a litre more than this, and you'll be charged for the entire amount of water consumed. i.e. 20001 litres. This scheme is likely to be a disaster. And one needn't wait long to see the effects.

The scheme heavily penalizes usage beyond the 20KL. So there is a huge incentive to 'officially' use just below 20KL every month.

What could happen is:
  • Spurt in (requests for) metered connections.
  • Large scale tampering of meters.
  • Households monitoring their water consumption closely, and stopping each month and just below 20KL. They would then depend on alternative sources for their remaining consumption. This could be water tankers, or bore-wells (don't know if they exist in Delhi).
  • Connections which currently use well below 20KL per month, could start selling their surplus free water in the black market.
  • Large number of complaints about faulty meters.
  • Increased number of outages and disruptions in water supply. Delays in fixing them.
It would be interesting to see the distribution of water consumption across connections before and after this scheme. While before could most likely be a normal curve, the distribution with this scheme would likely peak just below 20KL with it falling sharply to 0 on either side. It would pick up again at values > 30KL.

PS: Just had a look at my water bill. It must be a really large household to reach even close to 20KL per month.

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