EghtesadOnline: An estimated 1.5 billion cubic meters of water is consumed in Tehran Province annually, of which 25% or 30 million cubic meters/year is used by households that illegally tap into the water mains without paying, deputy head of Supervision Department in Tehran Province Water and Wastewater Company said.
“Since last March, close to 22,000 illegal connections have been found in the province, most of which were in the poor suburban areas,” Mohammadreza Karami Nezhad was quoted as saying by IRNA.
Of the total, about 10,000 were disconnected for non-payment and after paying a fine, they were linked to the municipal water supply system legally, Financial Tribune quoted him as saying.
The remaining illegal connections will be cut off gradually.
Water is fast becoming a scarce commodity and governments are doing all they can as far as conservation is concerned. However, there are people that tamper with meters or have illegal connections.
“If inspectors find an illegal connection, the case goes to the relevant courts and homeowner(s) must pay a fine after conviction.”
The official said taking a tough stance on residents who continue to use water illegally should be on the agenda because the “cost of the water they consume is borne by others” who have done nothing wrong.
Apart from committing an offense (theft of water and depriving the utility of revenue), people who cheat the water companies with illegal connections endanger the safety of the mains water through possible contamination, he stressed.
Illegal connection means a hose or pipe that at one end is connected to the water supply network, and at the other is immersed into a storage tank. If there is a reduction in water pressure in the water main (due to a pipe leak or burst), water from the illegal tank can be sucked into the mains supply.
This phenomenon is known as back-siphonage. If the water in the tank is contaminated in any manner, this results in contamination of the mains water.
Identification of illegal water connections is necessary because reducing their numbers means more (and safe) water for law-abiding subscribers.
Moreover, utilities can improve planning and make reliable demand projections. In this way, operational costs can be reduced, revenues will increase and better services and higher customer satisfaction can be achieved.