Gujarat Govt Mulls Stringent Penalty for Water Theft to Protect Its Domestic Supply
By News18 24-Jul-2019
The Gujarat Domestic Water Supply Protection Bill, 2019, reviewed by the IANS, seeks to monitor as well as curb the illegal use as well as misuse of water in residences and other buildings for domestic purposes. The violators of the provisions will be considered as criminal offenders, according to the Bill.
According to various provisions of the bill, all the local authorities such as municipal corporations, municipalities, the panchayats and the Gujarat Water Supply and Sewerage Board (GWSSB), which distribute water to households for domestic use will have to install the meters at their source of water as well as the end-users and a special annual water audit will have to be maintained and submitted to the state government.
Explaining the reasons for the legislation, the Bill states that: "It is important that discipline is maintained in the operation of water distribution and water reaches the end-users in a regular manner within the distribution system".
It said water needs to be distributed evenly within a village or a city in order to reach the end-users properly.
"Unfortunately, certain water users draw water illegally from the pipelines or overdraw water if they have a valid connection. There are also instances, wherein water distribution systems have either been contaminated, damaged or tampered with, affecting regular water supply. In such a scenario, water availability to the tail-end users reduces and they are deprived of water security," it said.
"This situation calls for urgent and strong measures to curb this kind of practices, wherein normal operation of water distribution system is disturbed and water security is jeopardized. It is therefore proposed to enact a law for protection of domestic water supply," the proposed Bill states.
The local authorities will have to fix water charges for different categories such as residential connections, group residential connections, other than residential use, and others. The charges will also vary according to the input water pipes' diameter size.
At the same time, the Bill also provides for a mechanism to reserve water for domestic purposes.
Any person who damages, tampers with or illegally draws water, is sought to be punished so as to deter the people from doing such activities. The Act provides for penalties and recovery of loss suffered by the water distribution authorities on account of illegal drawal of water to prevent such activities, states the proposed Bill.
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