The Cost of ‘Free’ Water

Credit: Walter Alternatives

INC’s Free Water Promise in Rajasthan

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot addressing during a public rally in Jodhpur, on April 9, 2019. Credit: Prokerala

AAP’s Free Water Promise in New Delhi

New Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at a rally in the capital. Credit: Twitter@ArvindKejriwal

What did the NGT recommend?

Due to the alarming findings of the report, the tribunal recommended that a ‘polluter pays’ principle should be applied to fine those who wastewater. The report filed by the committee went on to describe, “In case water consumption is highly excessive, the consumer should be charged with higher tariffs for overuse.” Instead of having a free for all system, the panel recommended that there should be a system whereby those who use more, pay more. The system of more consumption, higher the tariff, along with an efficient monitoring system for water consumption, would minimise water wastage.

Understanding the cost of free water

In the past few years, various political parties across the country have been using ‘freebies’ ‘ such as free water supply to lure voters, many of whom probably don’t even have access to piped water supply and/or a metered water connection to avail the benefit of such a scheme. While political parties continue dangling the carrot of free water supply, not only is it leading to the wastage of water, but also taking away from the key issues of drinking water supply and water-borne diseases prevalent in the country.



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Polstrat is a political consultancy aiming to shift the narrative of political discourse in the country from a problem-centric to a solutions-oriented approach.