The Rajshahi Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) has raised the price of water by three folds – from Tk2.27 to Tk6.81 per unit (1,000 litres) for domestic consumers and from Tk4.54 to Tk13.62 per unit for commercial consumers – with effect from 1 February this year.
The authorities have recently published a notice in newspapers and on its website to this effect.
Rajshahi Wasa authorities say the increase in the price of water was approved by the government.
In the case of residential and commercial establishments without metres, the price is being increased depending on the diameter of the supply pipe and the floor of the building.
In residential buildings, for a half-inch pipe, residents will be charged a minimum of Tk150 per month for the ground floor and Tk825 for the tenth floor. For a one-inch pipe, Tk375 will be charged for the ground floor and Tk2,070 for the tenth floor.
It has been decided to increase the water bill proportionally for the second to ninth floor and for floors beyond the tenth floor.
In residential users having metres, Tk5,625 will be charged for one and a half-inch pipe, Tk7,500 for a two-inch pipe, Tk9375 for a three-inch pipe, and Tk11,250 for a four-inch pipe.
In the case of commercial supply, the monthly price for a half-inch pipe on the ground floor is Tk300 and on the tenth floor, it is Tk1,650. For a one inch pipe, Tk750 will be charged for the ground floor and Tk4,140 for the tenth floor. Bills for the second to ninth and for floors beyond the tenth floor will increase proportionately.
For commercial users having metres, traders will be charged Tk11,250 for one and a half-inch pipes, Tk15,000 for a two inches pipe, Tk18.750 for a three inches pipe, and Tk22,500 for a four inches pipe.
But, the three-fold hike in water price in one go has made the city dwellers disgruntled.
Rajshahi Rokkha Sangram Parishad General Secretary Jamaat Khan said, "The water they (Wasa) supply is polluted. Harmful coliforms were found in it. This price increase despite no purification of the water is an imposed burden on the people, they will never accept it.
"We will build a strong movement along with the people of Rajshahi in protest. If there is a need to increase the price of water, Wasa can do that by holding a public hearing. Otherwise, the price of water will not be allowed to increase.
The Rajshahi Wasa was established on 1 August 2010 through separation of the water supply department of the city corporation. Now, the agency is pumping water through 103 deep tube wells and supplying it through pipelines.
The water demand in the city is 11.32 crore litres per day. However, Wasa can supply only 9 crore litres of water a day. The water is supplied to the city through a 712 km pipeline.
Recently, Rajshahi Wasa tested the water and found coliform bacteria in the pipe water.
When asked about the three-fold price hike all at once, Rajshahi Wasa Managing Director Zakir Hossain said, "We don't see it that way. The last time the price of water was increased was in 2014. The price of water in other parts of the country is even higher. We have to increase the price to adjust with the production cost."