WASA hikes tariff to bridge deficit

Citizens to bear burden of inflation on civic agency

Afzal Talib August 10, 2023
WASA workers drain rainwater from a road. PHOTO: APP/FILE


After an increase in electricity and petrol prices, the Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) has also increased its bills for houses bigger than five marla by 150 to 200 per cent to meet its budget deficit.

The civic agency has attributed the hike in its tariff to increased expenses.

Drinking water is required by a population of over 12.5 million in Lahore, where more than 600 tube wells have been installed.

According to WASA officials, about 774,000 consumers have water connections in the city.

It is estimated that WASA provides drinking water and sewerage facilities to about eight million residents of Lahore, while 4.5 million people are served from other sources.

The agency provides 70 gallons of water per person per day to its consumers, while there are 56,000 commercial and hundreds of thousands of domestic water connections in Lahore.

However, the officials said, only 25,000 of the connections were metered for billing as per the quantity of water consumption, while the other consumers were billed on an average basis.

The annual budget of WASA is around Rs18 billion, but its income is Rs14.5 billion, showing a deficit of Rs3.5 billion.

The deficit is on the rise due to the increase in electricity, fuel, salary and other expenses.

WASA had forwarded summaries several times in the past for the approval of increase in water bills, but the decision had been avoided.

It now sent a summary in this regard to the caretaker government for overcoming a financial crisis. The proposal was accepted by the caretaker cabinet.

The increase in the WASA bills was applicable from July 1, thus the financial burden on the citizens has increased as the process of collecting dues began this month.

This as added to the woes of the citizens already reeling under unprecedented inflation rates.

According to WASA, the monthly charges have been increased for a seven-marla house to Rs1,500 per month from Rs500, 10 marla to Rs1,800 from Rs650 and one kanal to Rs3,000 from Rs1,300.

A WASA consumer, Muhammad Naseer, said while speaking to The Express Tribune that the expenses of the citizens had also increased because of the hike in the prices of electricity, petroleum and other items, but the government and its institutions were not thinking about the plight of the people.

A resident of the metropolis, Rizwan Ahmad, said the government should withdraw the recent increase in the prices of petroleum products rather than allowing its department to raise tariff because of it.

WASA Managing Director Ghafran Ahmed said in reply to a question that the organisation was facing Rs3.5 billion deficit in its Rs18 billion annual budget.

He said the Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) bills had increased because of increasing expenses on electricity, fuel and other necessities.

The MD said the water bills for houses measuring five marla and less have not been increased.

He said that the increase in bills would raise WASA's annual income by Rs3 billion, while the remaining deficit would be met through other sources.

The MD said Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) had increased the bills after the approval of the Punjab government.

However, sources indicated that the bills for commercial connections had been hiked earlier.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2023.


Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ