KOCHI: Even as the numbers of unauthorised connections and water thefts have been increasing during summer, the Non-Revenue Water Management (NRWM), the special anti-theft squad of the Kerala Water Authority, which started functioning in July 2012 has been inactive for more than a year. Water thefts and the huge revenue loss caused by illegal connections in the city and outskirts have been posing a huge problem for the KWA. As per an earlier estimate of the KWA, more than 23, 035 million litres of water, which is 40 per cent of the total water supply to the City Corporation areas, flows unaccounted every year. While the KWA is supplying 62,050 million litres water from its Aluva pump house to the city per year, only 39,015 litres is being billed. More than 64 million litres of water flows unaccounted every day in the city and outskirts.
“Transmission loss, leakage and theft are the three major reasons for the 40 per cent unaccounted water flow. It is not the raw water, but the treated high quality water, which is priced at Rs.20 per litre in the market, that is being wasted. Compared to other cities, water theft is more rampant in Kochi due to the presence of a high number of high-rise apartments, commercial firms, hospitals and hotels,” said Dr. Sunny George, director of SCMS Water Institute, which prepared a water policy for Kochi.
Earlier, the NRWM unit was active and could crack down on several illegal connections. Members of the unit were regularly inspecting big apartments, commercial establishments and construction sites. Though the Authority could garner a huge amount as fine through the intensive drive, the NRWM unit soon became inactive. “Though an assistant executive engineer is in charge, functioning of the unit is only in name for the last several months. Water theft will be a major issue during peak summer days, and the Authority could effectively curb illegal connections if the unit is revived,” said sources at KWA.