Monday, March 14, 2005

Bogor to increase water rates

Source: The Jakarta Post

Bogor: Residents of Bogor and Depok, both in West Java, will have to dig deeper into their pockets in order to keep clean water running in their houses, with water company PDAM Tirta Kahuripan planning to raise tariffs following the fuel price rises.

Arguing that the recent fuel price hike increased the cost of production of clean water, PDAM Tirta Kahuripan Director Herry Suprapto said the increase was needed to ensure a steady supply of water.

"The tariff increase is going to be implemented in June. As of now the regental administration is still discussing it. The fuel hike has affected the production cost of water," he said.

Herry said the planned increase was also expected to cover subsidies given to low-income subscribers.

Of its 91,000 customers, over 57,000 of them came from low-income families. The company plans to add another 34,000 customers in 2005.

The government increased fuel prices by an average 29 percent on March 1, but has instituted a program of health and education subsidies for the nations's poorest citizens.

Herry did not say how much he wanted the water tariff to increase, saying only that his company paid out subsidies worth Rp 7 billion (US$760,000) per year

Tirta Kahuripan also wanted to increase water volume to 400 liters per second in some parts of West Java. The current volume in Depok was only 200 liters per second, in Cibinong 100 liters, and in Gunung Putri 100 liters.

The company takes its water from sources that include rivers, springs and groundwater wells.

Tirta Kahuripan currently produces a total of 2,026 liters per second coming from 11 river installations, 10 spring water installations and eight groundwater wells.

According to Herry, the limited supply of water has affected consumers living far from the company's installations. "The company cannot supply them water 24 hours a day," said Herry.

According to the company's records, only 95 percent of its consumers have running water 24 hours a day. In Depok, of its 1,100,000 residents, less than a quarter have access to clean water.

"We have limited supply of water from natural sources, while the number of consumers is increasing," Herry said.

He also said residents of Bogor and those in the districts of Jonggol, Cariu, Leuwiliang, Cibungbulang, Ciampea, Kedunghalang, Parung Panjang, Ciomas, and Kemang, have difficulties in getting clean water during the dry season, which runs from April to October.