The Kerala Water Authority (KWA) has for the first time come out with a meter policy which will govern all aspects of the metering of water use through KWA connections. Broadly, the policy is intended to promote efficient water use and reduce ‘non-revenue water’ (NRW) or water that gets ‘lost’ in supply due to reasons such as pilferage and leakage.
Applicable to both domestic and non-domestic connections, it spells out best practices and guidelines to be followed in the selection, testing, installation, maintenance, and replacement of water meters.
For guaranteeing efficient metering of water use, the policy requires consumers to replace the equipment every seven years, even if it is in working condition. At present, meters are replaced by consumers as and when they are reported as non-functional by the KWA staff.
Over the years, the KWA has been plagued by inconsistencies in measuring water use. The problems have been further aggravated by the presence of defective and non-functional meters in the network.
The policy lays out stringent quality norms for meters. “Only those meters that have been approved by the Fluid Control Research Institute (FCRI) either through the Model Approval Program (meter supplied by qualified suppliers published by FCRI ) or having FCRI type test and life cycle test certificate not older than 1.5 years can be used in all house connections,” it notes.
The policy also stresses the importance of proper training to meter readers for adequately addressing the issue of inconsistent and inaccurate readings. Meter readers should also be trained to spot problems, including tampering, the policy notes.
The policy is based on the provisions in the Kerala Water Supply and Sewerage Act and the Kerala Water Authority (Water Supply) Regulations. The State-run water utility had constituted a committee in July, 2020 to formulate strategies to overcome inconsistent and inaccurate water meter readings and also draft a water meter policy. The draft has now been cleared for implementation by the KWA.