RAWALPINDI: The residents of Rawalpindi are grappling with the impact of a significant increase in water bills.
Rawalpindi Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) reported that this increase marks the first since 2009.
Official documents revealed that the decision to raise rates was made on June 25 with special endorsement from Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Punjab’s caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi.
However, the specifics of the rate hike were not disclosed until August 5, after the increase had already been implemented following approval in a Rawalpindi Development Authority meeting.
The recent rise comes with a deadline for consumers: if they do not settle the dues in line with the increase by August 31, their water connections will be disconnected.
Consequently, residents have voiced their objections, and consumer rights groups have indicated their intention to challenge the price hike in court.
The impact of the recent hike varies based on property size.
For residential properties ranging from one to three Marla, the water charge is Rs. 203 and the sewerage charge is Rs. 147, resulting in a total bill of Rs. 350. Previously, the total bill was Rs. 236.
For up to five Marla plots, water charges increased to Rs. 290, and sewerage to Rs. 210, totaling Rs. 500 (previously Rs. 280).
Charges for plots up to seven Marla surge to Rs. 1,500, a more than 300% increase from the previous Rs. 350.
For properties up to 10 Marla, the new total bill is Rs. 2,000, up from Rs. 550.
The increase also extends to commercial properties as well, with various categories of billing.
Category A1 now has a total monthly bill of Rs. 1,000 (water charge Rs. 580, sewerage Rs. 420).
Category A demands Rs. 3,258 (water charge Rs. 1,889, sewerage Rs. 1,368), while Category B faces a bill of Rs. 5,345 (water charge Rs. 3,100, sewerage Rs. 2,244).
While these changes were made to address financial challenges and improve the water supply, the immediate impact on residents’ expenses has sparked concerns and protests.
Consumer rights advocates have expressed their intention to legally contest the price hike to ensure fair and transparent decision-making.