Maharashtra hopes to generate an extra US$ 171 million to improve rural water supply through a one Rupee (2 US dollar cents) surcharge on bottled mineral water. The state also plans to replace public water taps in the slums of its capital Mumbai by safer bottled water. The plans were presented by Maharashtra’s water supply and sanitation minister Laxman Dhobale.
“As per last year’s figures, mineral water consumption in Maharashtra is nearly 800 crore [8 billion] bottles per year. If we levy a surcharge of Re1 [2 US dollar cents] per one-litre bottle, Rs800 crore [US$ 171 million] could be added to the state coffer.
The amount can be further used for bringing about an improvement in the water supply system,” he said.
The surcharge will be used to set up a laboratory for monitor water quality and to install water treatment equipment for rural areas. Dhobale said he would present the proposal in a Cabinet meeting within two months.
Another plan presented by the water minister involved replacing public taps in slums with bottled water. Slum dwellers in Mumbai will have to purchase drinking water at Rs 5 (11 US dollar cents) for a 20-litre can.
“Though it is dearer than tap water, it would help us in sorting out sanitation problems and control waterborne diseases,” Dhobale said. “Public water taps in slum pockets are the epicenter of unhygienic conditions due to the accumulation of water and mud.
The percentage of water contamination is also huge. The water booths will help us overcome such conditions and help in supplying pure water to the slums.”
Dhobale added, “Water supplied through the government machinery and municipal corporations is supplied at Rs10 [21 US dollar cents] per 1,000 litre, which is too cheap. But the residents will have to bear the additional cost for pure water.”
Related web site: Maharashtra – Water Supply and Sanitation Department