While the Pune Municipal Corporation is yet to get on with its pilot project for implementing the water-by-meter plan, the rural areas of the district have gone ahead and implemented the scheme. And they have even reaped benefits in the last one year. These villages have been able to conserve as much as 25 per cent water, according to the statistics provided by the rural department of the Pune Zilla Parishad (ZP).
What started as a gram panchayat decision in one village soon got replicated in as many as eight villages in the rural Pune district where it was decided to instal water meters in every household to check water consumption. Energy and water conservation being the main theme of the project, these villages have roped in all families and have been able to save money as well as water.
The villages are Kesnand in Haveli, Chambli and Walunj in Purandar taluka, Sambhave in Mulshi taluka, Navla Umbre in Maval, Kurali in Khed and Pirangut and Sambve Disali in Mulshi taluka.
“These villages have shown that meters are an effective way to save water. They decided to implement the plan at their gram sabha. After the decision, water meters were bought in bulk and installed with our technical expertise last year,’’ said Anil Kawade, Zilla Parishad CEO.
It was after a tender process that the villages decide to zero in on the company that sells meters and a bulk order was given.
These villages are mostly in the arid zone and underground water lines were laid from the Bhima river basin.
“The average bill would come around Rs 900 and now with this initiative it is roughly up to Rs 300,” added Kawade.
B M Chaukhande, deputy engineer, Haveli taluka, said almost all villagers have installed meters and water is being used sparingly. “With the water used as per requirement, the hilly areas were also able to get water from the lines laid in the village,’’ he said.
The villagers are happy that they would not be charged a flat rate anymore. “The flat rates were very high. The water meter system ensures that if there is no usage, we would have to pay accordingly, and those using more water pay more,’’ said a villager.
Superintending engineer of rural water supply D N Kulkarni said increasing awareness led the villagers to invest in the initiative. “The meters have ensured transparency in the system,’’ said Kulkarni, adding that more villages want to follow suit.