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Assessing Water Charges for Apartment Complex - Implementation : Help Required, Hyderabad

Recently I bought a 2BHK flat in KPHB, Hyderabad. The Builder has constructed two huge sumps to store manjeera(dam) water and a huge sump for bore water. Now as this is summer and that too it is hyderabad, most of the place is in shortage of bore water and even municipality is not releasing the dam water for more than 2 hrs which will hardly fill only half of the one huge sump.

Hence we are ordering tankers of water. The builder has set up 20 tanks for 20 flats of 1000 litres each. But the logic behind is that if the pipe is kept in one tank and if it filled up, the water will go in to the next one and so on. Like this every alternate day the water is being filled in 20 storage tanks. The problem is that every municipality water tank(capacity of 14000litres) costs Rs. 800 and as we are ordering alternate days, it is costing Rs. 700 extra burden for each flat besides the normal maintainence of Rs 700/- .

Some tenants are not willing to pay this as they are saying we don't use much water.

I got the idea of water meter. I think by making the 20 individual tanks to one common tank and keeping water metre for every flat will be a better idea. But we don't know how much to charge for a unit. Could you please help me in this regard?

Karteek Challa



1. The answer to your question

The answer to your question is simple, the total expenditure in a month to be shared by all in the ratio of water consumed, as read from the meters.

However, installing water meters is not the right solution to your problem. There is something inexplicable in your mail. 14000 L divided equally amongst 20 flats, every one gets 700 L. And you are calling a tanker only alternate days, so every one gets 350 L per day. This is already a very high level of water conservation. On top of that if some families say they do not use much water, means they use even less than 350 L. This is difficult to accept.

Instead of plunging headlong in to installing water meters, which is quite a re-plumbing exercise, it will be much better for the society members to sit down and re-examine this claim that some are using very little water.

Chetan Pandit

2. Water Crises?????

Dear Karteek Challa

Water crisis has become common issue for all in general and particularly for people living in concrete jungles like Hyderabad,
The problems that you are facing can be broadly classified as:
1. Non co-operation from the members for sharing the common services & benefits
2. Fixing water meters and assessing cost.

For the first part it is best to appraise all parties concerned of the ground situation and encourage group thinking on the solutions possible.
Coming to the second point, fix the meters (by individuals themselves or share the cost) and record the reading (units) on a monthly basis.

The cost per individual can be assessed by calculations based on the meter readings and also a shared total of the expenditure of the initial costs of meters, labor etc,
I would also like to raise some more questions about your long term strategy at this time. It would be good to reassess your dependence on external water supply and also the inability of the municipality to provide water and the continued dependence it provokes.

The only solution for the current situation is unbelievable as it may sound is Rainwater Harvesting.
RWH is very simple if you understood the issue and importance of water.
In simple terms RWH emphasis on:
# Leave empty space (with out cementing) - this allows the rainwater to infiltrate into the sub-surface. This supports for: your greenery and to improve the groundwater both in general and your own bore wells.
# Collect the rainwater from the roof of your apartments - you can store this on the surface for supplementing your regular water supply and inject it into the sub-surface to enhance the groundwater both in general and your own bore wells.

You along with your members may know all these simple measures. It needs concern and implementation with commitment. Hope now you got relief and are feeling confident to solve your own water crises and better relationships among the inmates.
Hope by next or next year your dependency on external water supply will be minimized drastically.
I will be happy to share more on this if required.

All the best
N Lakshmi Narayana, 9392445973 Hyderabad

3. Water Charges

Dear Karteek Challa,

Though I do agree with Mr Chetan Pandit, regarding  the usage of water being a bit to low to be true. I still feel that the best way to charge people for the water they use is when you can monitor individual usage seperately. It will leave no scope for dispute or someone thinking he is being  made to pay for more than his share of water.

Your Idea of water meter is ideal, and in your case, you already have 20 seperate tanks, and 20 seperate pipes connected to 20 seperate flats and water from UG Sump being delivered to one tank is diverted to the others when it is full.  Under these conditions You really do not need to get one big common tank installed .

All you need to do it install 20 water meters at the outlet of each tank which leads to each individual flat- this involves a certain ammount of capital expenditure aprox. Rs1000-1200/- tank ( may be little more). Provided there is enough space between the tank and the terace wall to facilitate the installation of meters.

This will not only give you total number of units consumed but it will give you how much water has flowed out of each individual tank thus what each flat has consumed. Then based on what you need to pay for the total month for  water , just divide it with the number of units consumed and every one contributes for it by multiplying this figure with the readings  on their water meter.

Naturally this calculation will have to be done every month depending on the amount of total water being used and the extra amount you need to spend on meeting the water demands.

The good part is no one can claim that he is being charged extra. Hence less scope for any dispute. over claims and counter claims regarding water usage. This will also encourage everyone to be more conservative and maintain the taps and other water related hardware fittings so a to minimize their water bills.


Dr Anil Lalwani







4. Water Metering.

Some apartments have problem of meter reading after ianstallations.

Meters might have been installed in a place, where it may be difficult to reach.

We have wired electronic solution, where indicator is installed inside the apartment.

It is connected to sensor through a 3 core wire. They can be installed in a single place/cabin.

It works on very low power consumption.

5. Hyderabad Water Board overcharging apartments for water

The Hyderbad Water Board usually supplies our apartment complex every alternate day for about 30-45 minutes and charged 15 kl flat for years since meters were not installed back then. We have two tanks one 1 kl tank on the ground to serve as the storage tank and another 1.5 kl tank on top of the complex to supply the residents. For what they supply only fills 1-2 kl both tanks combined each time. Recently they started charging 15 kl per apartment which amounts to 300 kl per month of which they don't even supply 1/10 of. We have no problem instaling a meter but they are saying we need to instal a new connection to get meter reading. They were also saying we will still be charged per flat and that meter reading will only be applied after we crossed the per flat rate. How do we deal with this situation? No resident is willing to pay for water they are not supplied within reasonable margin (in our situation charged 300 kl but supplied max 30 kl for entire complex).

We primarily use a bore for water supply and never had issues even during summer. So, no real issue in the case if water board stopped supplying water but would rather have the water supply as long as it is charged within reasonable range meter rate. Please help.

Any advise is greatly appreciated.

6. Steep hike in water bill

I am resident of Krishna nagar, defence colony Safilguda. Our locality lies within 15 km range from the main water tank where the supply comes from . We are residing here since the start of this colony and it has never received water daily and sufficiently . Now the water tariffs have gone up, whom should we complain that we simply are paying much more than what we are supplied . Rs. 212 /- per month for meagre amount of water supplied is really insane and unbearable. I called the customer care and they said Rs. 212 is the minimum charge levied ; than what for is meter installed . The residents in this colony don't need meters as the supply itself is so retarded in its full capacity and very infrequent and meters though installed never works for the amount of supply which is so low and in very short span. I seriously recommend the Board to please levy according to the usage.

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