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Ordinance to check water theft

KWA to market packaged water, mineral water and aerated water


Law has provisions to ensure quality plumbing work

Misuse of public taps to attract punishment




N.K. Premachandran briefed the media on the new law.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State Governor has promulgated an ordinance seeking to check misuse of drinking water and unhealthy practices in the water and sanitation sector.

The Kerala Water and Supply and Sewerage (Amendment) Act lays down punishments including imprisonment for theft of water and other irregularities. Sewage lines will be allowed to be used only for draining domestic sewage.

The ordinance authorises the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) to manufacture and market packaged water, mineral water and aerated water. The KWA can assess and collect charges in cases of unauthorised use of water supply and evict encroachments on pipeline roads. The cost of eviction can be collected from the encroacher. The ordinance has provisions for regulating water supply to multi-storeyed buildings and flats and ensuring quality of plumbing works.

Water Resources Minister N.K. Premachandran told journalists here on Thursday that the KWA produced 1,866 million litres of drinking water a day, but billed only 1,493 million litres a day. The balance is being lost through theft, leakage and failure of meters including that from manipulation. Low-quality pipes and plumbing works also cause problems. There have been complaints about overcharging by plumbers. The ordinance is intended to address these problems.

If an unauthorised connection is taken by a domestic user, he would be fined Rs.10,000 for the first offence. Repetition of the offence will attract a fine of Rs.25,000 and six months’ imprisonment. The fine is Rs.50,000 for non-domestic user for the first time. Repetition of offence will attract a fine of Rs.1 lakh and two years’ imprisonment. Offences such as theft of water, manipulation of water meters and causing damage to supply lines will also attract similar punishments.

In areas with drainage facilities, construction of buildings will not be allowed within 50 metres without building a drainage system according to the specifications of the KWA. Release of unauthorised waste material through the drainage system will be punishable.

Mr. Premachandran said that plumbers should be using standard materials and collecting charges in accordance with the rates fixed by the KWA.

The ordinance provides for punishment in case of non-compliance with the norms fixed by the KWA. Misuse of public taps will also attract punishment.

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