WASA to streamline water billing system | The Express Tribune


LAHORE:

The Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) is all set to award a contract to a Chinese consortium of companies for installing meters with water connections for domestic and commercial consumers.

WASA’s tendering committee has recommended the project to be awarded to the said company, and now the case is being referred to the Public-Private Partnership Authority for a final approval. Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar is its chairman. All the preparations have been made, and with the approval of the Punjab chief minister, the project will be awarded to the Chinese companies which will be responsible for setting up a meter manufacturing company in Pakistan within six months.

The project of installing of meters with connections in residential and commercial areas in Lahore was meant to have begun many years ago, but it somehow got delayed for years for one reason or another.

The WASA conducted an international process of bidding of tenders in which various Chinese companies submitted tenders as a consortium and got the job of constructing 700,000 meters in Lahore by bidding less in the contract which will cost over nine billion rupees.

According to the initial agreement reached between the Chinese companies and the WASA, the consortium will set up a factory in Punjab to install meters.

The sources said China is keen to set up a factory in Faisalabad for which their experts are looking for lands.

After installing 700,000 meters in Lahore, meters will also be installed in other major cities of Punjab where WASA authorities are present for which the said company will also make meters.

As per the agreement reached between the WASA and the Chinese companies, all the investment will be made by the consortium.

Around 20% amount will be paid immediately to the company for installing meters in Lahore. The remaining 80% will be paid to the consortium in installments.

The government or the WASA will not have to spend any money initially.

WASA Managing Director Syed Zahid Aziz told The Express Tribune that the project to install meters with water connections was delayed for years, but thanks to the interest of the government, Chinese companies have agreed to invest in Punjab through international tenders.

The project will help reduce the falling level of ground water, and the consumers would use water as needed, and there will be a reduction in electricity.

The population of Lahore has exceeded 12 million, but the WASA is providing clean drinking water to only eight million people only instead of the entire city.

The WASA has a deficit budget every year. In the current financial year, the budget of the WASA is about Rs12 billion, of which about Rs3 billion is subsidised by the Punjab government. Nearly six hundred tube-wells and 127 small and large disposal centers have been set up to provide drinking water to Lahore.

The WASA pays about over Rs400 billion monthly in electricity bills which is lower in winter than in summer.

WASA is providing 70 gallons of water per capita to the citizens but in spite of this water is being used indiscriminately in residential and commercial places due to which the ground water level is also decreasing.

In future, Lahorites may face drinking water problems. The Punjab government is taking various measures to deal with this situation, including reusing used water, recycling water from parks and mosques and other works.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 13th, 2021.




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