Consumer rights activists Friday criticised the recent water price hike, saying the worst victim of the move will be the lower-income people living in Dhaka.
"It will drive up house rent and increase production costs at factories in the capital, and ultimately have a negative impact on the daily lives of people," said Ghulam Rahman, president of the Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB).
The Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Dhaka Wasa) has fixed Tk14.46 for each unit (1,000 litres) of water for residential users, while the existing rate is Tk11.57. It increased the commercial rate to Tk40 from the existing rate of Tk37.04 per unit.
The new price will be effective from April 1 this year. This is the fourth time the authority has increased the price of water since August 2017.
The Dhaka Wasa said it had taken permission from the government for the price hike, which is aimed at aligning the selling price with the production and distribution costs.
Dhaka Wasa Managing Director Taqsem A Khan told The Business Standard, "Production cost for per 1,000 litres of water is now Tk25. If the production cost increases at this rate, the agency will run on losses.
"We have been compelled to increase the price of water to reduce government subsidiaries for the resource," he added.
Taqsem also claimed that the price of water supplied by the Dhaka Wasa is the lowest not only in South Asia, but the world too.
Sheikh Mohammed Yasin, joint secretary of the Jatiya Bharatiya Parishad (National Tenants' Council), said the city dwellers will come under pressure as the prices of both electricity and water have been increased at the same time.
"Landlords will now use this opportunity to increase house rent by using the increase of electricity and water prices as an excuse," said Sheikh Mohammed Yasin.
CAB President Ghulam Rahman said if the agencies were corruption-free and dealt with the problem of mismanagement, they would not have to increase the price of water.
The Dhaka Wasa estimates that on average, each person uses 40 litres of water per day, which means around 2 crore people in the city use 80 crore litres of water daily.
Last September, Dhaka Wasa increased the water tariff by 5 percent, increasing tariffs for residential usage from Tk11.02 to 11.57 and that of commercial usage from Tk35.28 to 37.04, for every 1,000 litres of water.