If you are getting high water bills, here is a check-list to follow:
1. Please make sure that the initial and the final meter reading numbers are mentioned on each bill and that they correspond to the previous bills. Sometimes the numbers are skipped and then the bill is sent on ad-hoc basis.
2. You can investigate the main water lines both inside and outside your building. Re-testing of outside lines and your water meters can be done of by paying very nominal fees to local BMC ward office.
3. After re-testing, you need to monitor regularly your daily meter readings. If your billing is higher than your daily recorded values, then there is a problem. Billing is sometimes done based on highly inflated ad-hoc estimation based on your water mainline size or storage tank capacity and could be 2-3 times the current usage. Since billing is done at telescopic rates, the bill amount shoots up tremendously.
4. If there are no internal underground pipe leakages found, check if there could be a faulty water meter. Go for an accurate digital water meter. Observe the remarks on your water bill, which is based on one of the following codes:
|MOK/MOT||METER RUNNING READING TAKEN|
|NAT/NAP||METER NOT MADE AVAILABLE FOR READING|
|MMR||METER REQUIRES RETESTING|
|RNR||READINGS NOT RELIABLE|
|EXM||METER DEFECTIVE NEEDS REPLACEMENT|
|NOM||METER UNAVAILABLE (CONNECTED BY PIPE)|
|PER||PROBLEM AT OFFICE|
|TPR||METER IS TAMPERED|
5. BMC may refuse to share their testing reports citing secrecy clause or various excuses like society is wasting daily thousands of liters of water through overflow/ leakages/ wastages, and that the analog meters record readings even when the line is kept closed, due to air pressure in the line.
6. You can pay some of the bills at 50% under protest, just to avoid disconnection for non-payment.
7. You can take measurements of your underground and overhead water tanks for capacity calculations and challenge BMC to prove how such high supply was possible, based on your tanks capacity.
8. BMC will send their staff to cross-check on your data and monitor the water supply flow.
9. You may have to undertake a lot of visits to the BMC ward office but you can save thousands of Rs. in water bills for your society.
10. Here is the rate table for ready reference.
|NORMAL RATE (Rs)||5000 L
|Total Amount (Rs)||60% Sewage Charges (Rs)|
|0.75 KL||4.32 per 1 KL||324||324||324||194|
|0.75-1.0 KL||4.32 per 1 KL for 750 L8.64 per 1 KL for BALANCE 250 L||324+216||324+216||540||324|
|1-1.25 KL||4.32 per 1 KL for 750 L
8.64 per 1 KL for NEXT 250 L
12.96 per 1 KL for NEXT 250 L
|All Balance above 1.25 KL||4.32 per 1 KL for 750 L
8.64 per 1 KL for NEXT 250 L
12.96 per 1 KL for NEXT 250 L
17.28 per 1 KL for BALANCE LITRES
11. You can escalate the matter with Hydraulic Engineer’s Office, 1st floor, MCGM Engineering Hub, Dr E Moses Rd, Worli Naka, Mumbai 400018
How can we save water through simple means?
The Indian water footprint is 980 cubic meter per year per capita. The International Water Management Institute predicts that by 2025 in India, one in three people will live under “scarce water” conditions. For example, just to produce one cup of coffee, we need 140 litres of water. There are some very simple tips available on how to save water.
Saving water in your bathroom:
- Dual flush toilets use up to 67% less water than conventional toilets. The Brazilian environmental group SOS Atlantic Forest Foundation says that if a single household flushed the toilet just one fewer times a day, it would save a whopping 4,000 litres of water each year
- By not disposing trash through the sink or toilet, because each time you flush you use about 10 liters of clean water.
- Fix leaking toilet flush flappers and taps. A silent toilet leak could waste from 100 to 2000 litres every day!
- Using a low-flow water-saving showerhead maintains the pressure and feel of the flow while using as little as half as much water as conventional units.
- Take a timer, clock, or stopwatch into the bathroom with you and challenge yourself to cut down your showering time! Or the best bet is to bathe using a bucket, instead of a shower.
- Turn off the water while you soap your body OR wash your hair to save up to 500 litres a month.
- A peek into any bathroom in Australia provides a handy water-saving tip from the inhabitants of the driest continent on the planet – place a bucket under the showerhead to catch all that excess water that normally goes down the drain while you wait for the water to heat up. Use that to water plants or pour into your toilet for flushing.
- Turning off the tap while shaving, brushing your teeth or washing your hands etc.
- Teach your children to turn off taps tightly after each use.
Saving water in the kitchen:
- Attach a showerhead to kitchen tap fittings, saving upto 30% water. It is a common misconception that high-pressure, high-volume water is needed to clean tough dirt and grease from dishes. In fact, what is more effective is using a wide water spray rather than heavy water volume.
- Turning off the tap, while scraping or applying soap to the dishes, pots and pans. Rinse dishes in a full sink water.
- Dishwashers, especially modern, efficient ones, can actually save water compared to washing by hand, since they pump the same water around inside the tub. Load the dishwasher full but not overly full.
- Rinse vegetables in a full sink or pan of water, washing the cleanest ones first. Use that water easily for watering plants.
- If you accidentally drop ice cubes OR when you have ice left in your cup, don’t throw them in the sink. Drop them in a plant instead.
Saving water during washing clothes:
- While using a washing machine, wait until you have a full load of clothes. Front loaders use far less water than top loaders.
- Do change socks and underwear daily, but whenever possible wear other clothing more than once. You can also wear the same pajamas for a few nights in a row, especially if you shower before bed. You will save time and wear and tear on your fabrics, as well.
- Also if you have something especially messy to do, such as cleaning or working out, set aside one set of old clothes for that purpose and wear it multiple times. If possible, time such activities so they happen just before your regular shower so you don’t use additional clothing or take additional showers.
- Hang clothes on a rack to air dry, instead of machines.
- Washing dark clothes in cold water saves both on water and energy while it helps your clothes to keep their colors.
- Reuse towels in hotels.
- Using biodegradable cleaners (i.e. natural items such as lemons and vinegar) as well as phosphate-free detergents also helps to reduce water consumption and is less harmful to the environment. Reliable cleaning products include baking soda (works wonders when mixed with vinegar to form a paste) and the swiss army knife of natural cleaners tea tree oil, which has strong disinfecting properties and can be used to treat or clean a plethora of grievances.
Saving water in the garden:
- Use a broom rather than water to clean sidewalks and garden furniture.
- Use micro-sprinklers or drip irrigation systems to water shrubs and trees deeply but less often. This will encourage plants to grow deeper roots, so that they need water less frequently, making them drought-tolerant too.
- Rather than following a set watering schedule, check for soil moisture two to three inches below the surface before watering. More plants die from over-watering than from under-watering.
- Water the garden and lawn when it is not windy and in early morning or at night, giving water more time to soak in without added evaporation from the day’s heat.
- Use a trigger nozzle on your hose or a watering can.
- Use mulch like hay, manure, leaves, wood chips, bark, and newspaper on your garden to retain moisture. The right organic mulch can also help improve your soil as it breaks down and keep weeds in check.
- Group plants with the same watering needs together to avoid overwatering some while under-watering others.
- Use a minimum amount of organic or slow release fertilizer to promote a healthy and drought tolerant landscape.
- Leave lower branches on trees and shrubs and allow leaf litter to accumulate on the soil. This keeps the soil cooler and reduces evaporation.
- For large areas use sprinklers that deliver big drops of water close to the ground. Smaller water drops and mist often evaporate before they hit the ground. Small patches can be watered by hand to avoid waste.
- Aerate your lawn at least once a year so water can reach the roots rather than run off the surface.
- Leftover water from the bathroom, kitchen and laundry after proper filtering and treatment can be highly beneficial for crops.
- We’re more likely to notice leaks indoors, but don’t forget to check outdoor taps, sprinklers and hoses for leaks.
Other unconventional tips for saving water:
- Designate one glass for your drinking water each day or refill a reusable water bottle. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash.
- The production of one kilogram of beef requires 16 thousand litres of water. Being a vegetarian can help save tons of water.
- Archaeologists discovered more than 60,000 rainwater harvesting structures in India dating back as far as the third century BC! And today?
- Swimming pool covers that reduce evaporation by thousands of litres, saving energy and chemical costs. Check your pool regularly for leakages.
- When cleaning out fish tanks, give the nutrient-rich water to your plants.
- Do not let your overhead tank overflow. Regulate the time.
Share the above water conservation tips with family, friends and neighbours. Encourage your school system to develop and promote water conservation among children.