Tanker water prices up, apartments in distress

For long now, residential complexes are managing their own water sources, despite BWSSB’s promise to supply water. The second and final article in the series takes the lid of a festering issue between tanker water suppliers and apartment managements: pricing.

While they are struggling to figure out the BBMP’s muddled up garbage management policy, apartment owners are hit with tanker water price hikes.

In the last 3-4 months water tanker prices have risen quite steeply, especially since the city’s water crisis became severe. This applies to apartments in both outskirts and old areas. Most do not have functioning borewells, as opposed to individual houses.

Bannerghatta Neighbourhood Association (BANA), a collective of 25 apartments along Bannerghatta Road, has faced sharp price hikes in the last few months. BANA Treasurer Shankar Bharadwaj says that the price varies from Rs 450 to Rs 600 per load of 6000 litres. Large apartments like L&T South City are charged Rs 450, while the smaller apartments are charged Rs 550-600 since they consume less.

Most apartments have to rely on private tankers for water supply. File Pic.

Under BANA, a few apartments do not have BWSSB water connections yet. "Apartments pay the highest property tax, but do not get facilities. We plan to ask BWSSB about the deposit it collected from apartments initially, promising water supply," says Bharadwaj.

"The price (tanker water) used to be Rs 300-330 until 3-4 months back. Randomly, the suppliers came up with new rates, saying that the costs of getting water, labour etc., have gone up. They said that water sources exist in outskirts only, and the cost of bringing it to us was high," says Bharadwaj.

Mantri Classic apartment in Koramangala has been getting 6000 litre loads at the cost of Rs 400-1000. The apartment also has BWSSB water supply, and tankers are used only when there is a shortage. Prices shoot up only based on demand.

Muralidhar Rao, a resident of the apartment, says, "The usual rate is Rs 400. This went up to Rs 1000 during summer, because of the demand. Now that there is no severe shortage, the price has also come down."

In one city outskirt area, a local tanker association has demanded a 33% hike instead of the usual annual hike of 10%. Worried apartment owners wanted to maintain anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the negotiations.

"Our apartment came up in 1994, but we still do not have any supply other than from tankers. People with different income levels stay in our apartment, and not everyone can afford the tanker water hike. BBMP does not take responsibility because they think apartments can manage themselves," says a resident in one of the apartments here. The groundwater level in this area is so low that borewells at a 1000 feet depth are dry.

M Venkatesh, owner of Lakshmi Venkateshwara Water Supply Company in Kalyan Nagar, says that he used to distribute 5000 litres of water at the cost of Rs 400. He has not been supplying now as his borewell source has dried up. About high prices in other areas, he says, "In new layouts, there is no Cauvery or borewell water. Demand is high there, and tankers have to get water from far away sources. Hence the high prices."

Venkatesh says that he used to make profit of Rs 50-60 per load. "Rs 150 is for sourcing water, and about Rs 200 for diesel, driver’s salary, labour cost etc.," he says. M Devaraj, who owns Cauvery Water Supply Company in the same area, agrees.

BANA plans to ask authorities to regulate water prices, but currently no government agencies control them. S Narahari, Assistant Executive Engineer at BWSSB, says, "BWSSB or any other agency has no control over this. It is fully market-driven," he says.

However, it may not be true that the prices are only market-driven. In some areas, tanker companies appear to be showing cartel-like behaviour. Residents are worried that new water suppliers are being prevented from supplying to their areas. Because of lack of competitive options, many apartments have no option but to pay up.


  1. Ananth S Kodavasal says:

    It will be interesting to also find out how many of these apts. treat their sewge properly and reap the benefit of recycled water to reduce dependence on purchased tanker water.

  2. A W Xavier says:

    It is indeed a major concern to residents on spiralling tanker water price. The price at Bannargatta and L&T South City are infact cheaper, in comparision with my location Sulthanpalya and the surroundings,in North Bangalore adjoining Ring road. The price spiraled to Rs 1000 in summer and now for 3 months settled at Rs 700.
    The residents have moral responsibility to recharge the ground water in whatever scale it is possible. Shall not expect everything to be done by civic agencies,that too with non-performing officials and staff.BBMP is there just to talk. There is no ready made solutiion to this unless the residents act themselves. Best action is that every dwelling unit, irrespective of the size should harvest rain water. If this is religeously executed, definitely the water table will rise. Here BBMP norm, excluding smaller sites, itself is a serious mistake. This does not help in larger scale to bring up the water table.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Story

The trials of a school in Northeast Delhi in the aftermath of the 2020 riots

Rioters had left the Arun Modern Senior Secondary Public School in shambles in 2020. Here's the tale of its journey from then to now.

Kakul Sharma was in class 8 in 2020 when the Delhi riots occurred. Although she was safe at home, her school was attacked by a mob. "I thought I would never be able to go back to school. We believed that the world was ending. My sister cried all day when she saw a news channel telecasting the rubble of our school.” For the children of Northeast Delhi, like Kakul, the riot meant a school blackened by smoke, a charred library, broken benches, and a playground that looked like it was hit by a tornado. This was the shape in…

Similar Story

Push government to implement all welfare measures in Street Vendors Act : Lekha Adavi

Lekha Adavi, a member of AICTU, says that without BBMP elections, there are no corporators to address the issues of street vendors.

(In part 1 of the interview series, Lekha Adavi, member of the All India Centre of Trade Unions (AICTU), spoke about the effects of climate change on Bengaluru’s street vendors. In part 2, she highlights how The Street Vendors Act (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of street vending) 2014 falls short in its implementation) Excerpts: How do you engage with local authorities or municipal agencies to raise awareness of the challenges faced by street vendors during temperature surges? What responses or support do they provide? Lekha: Well, they don't respond to any of our demands. In Bengaluru, the BBMP elections…