HYDERABAD: Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB) failed to supply the mandated 150 litres per capita per day (LPCD) of potable water to consumers in its jurisdiction covering a population of 69.93 lakh, as per a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India.
The water supplied ranged between 66 and 71 LPCD. The performance audit of the Board was conducted between March and August 2018. About 82 per cent of the Consumer Account Numbers (CANs) did not have water meters installed or were not in working condition.
A total of 9,34,973 CANs, out of the total 10,28,375 CANs (as of July 2018), were sanctioned under the Domestic category with a 15 mm connection. The average consumption of these was 16.69 kilolitres (KL) for July 2018. Scrutiny revealed that only 1,69,287 CANs were metered.
The remaining 7,65,686 CANs, constituting nearly 82 per cent of the CANs, did not have water meters installed or were not in working condition, which contravened Section 51 of the HMWS&S Act.
The CAG found that there is no mechanism to check unaccounted for water (UFW). The losses on account of UFW increased by 29 per cent to 172.95 million gallons of water per day (MGD) in 2017-18 from 134.57 MGD in 2014-15.
The CAG suggested that there is a need to conduct an audit to compute the water losses by a technically competent third party and adopting efficient systems. The Board was financially weakened due to the operational cost of 40 per cent during 2013-17, and the inability to collect water dues to the tune of Rs 1,209 crore till March 2018. The accumulated loss up to March 2017 was Rs 967 crore.
No reliable mechanism was in place to record the water supply during transmission and distribution phases, the CAG found. The Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system was not installed at all water sources and hence, the exact quantity of water lifted for supply to the HMWS&SB area could not be measured as a whole.
The Water Board had planned additional capacities without considering the existing capacities accurately. There were deviations from the specifications laid down by the Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering Organisation (CPHEEO) Manual in planning and executing the projects that impacted the achievement of project deliverables. CAG found instances of deviations in the planning and execution of projects.
To augment the financial resources of the Board, the Telangana government had directed the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) to transfer 15 per cent of the collection of water tax levied by it as part of the property tax to the Board. An amount Rs 761.96 crore was due from the GHMC to the Board as of March 2017.
The CAG suggested the Board review the power charges to identify cost-cutting measures. Given the precarious financial position of the Board, prudence demands that the Board draws water from the most economical source for supply, especially from those sources, where water can be drawn through gravity.
The decision to discontinue drawing (despite the availability of sufficient level and appropriate quality) of water from the most economical source for supply, resulted in Board incurring additional pumping charges of Rs 140.95 crore.
Irregularities by GHMC in desilting work cost Rs 53.56 lakhs
Failure of the GHMC in exercising due diligence on desilting works resulted in irregular payments of Rs 53.56 lakh as per the CAG report. The Corporation, in 2015-17, executed 76,689 desilting works, of which 207 works were of value more than five lakh each.
Audit test during August 2017 revealed that in the test-checked for desilting works, they found irregularities in the desilting works. GHMC should verify all the cases and initiate action about the irregularities found if any.
Municipal Corporations collected a fee from building owners towards Rain Water Harvesting Structures (RWHS) but incurred no expenditure either as a refund to applicants or towards the construction of RWHS in the building premises during 2015-18.
Thus, they failed to comply with the mandatory provisions on rainwater harvesting and the objective of recharge of groundwater was defeated.