Larger families could pay more for their water bills in future, after the Public Authority for Water (Diam) issued a decree increasing tariffs for excess consumption.
According to the new decision, consumers who use more than 5,000 gallons of water per month will have to pay higher fees.
While smaller households shouldn’t be affected, bigger families should take heed.
Statistics from the Public Authority for Water reveal that, on average, everyone in Oman consumes 160 litres of water every day.
Therefore, each person is responsible for the consumption of approximately 1,268 gallons of water per month.
In a household of four people or more, that could mean higher rates.
Yesterday, Dr Abdulmalik bin Abdullah Al Hinai, Chairman of the Board of Directors at the Public Authority for Water, issued decision No 2/2019 which published tariffs for the supply of drinking water.
According to Article 3 of the decision, the water tariff for residential estates is 2 baisas per gallon up to 5,000 gallons. However, once the monthly consumption passes 5,001 gallons then the cost will increase to 2.5 baisas per gallon.
Abdullah Al Makhousi, father of 14, paid very little for last month’s water and sewage expenses.
“I now live with my eight younger children, and our last monthly water bill showed that we consumed exactly 5,000 gallons, so the charge was OMR10. Even if the next month’s bill is over 5,000 gallon, 2.5 baisas is not that much of a difference.”
Locals who live on farms with large families feel as though the change is significant. An Omani mother of five said: “Per month on an average we use 6,500 gallons of water. It is still considered winter now, so during summer time we use a lot more water.
“What this tariff will mean is the more you consume the more you will pay, but for people who live in a farm, with big families this will affect them,” she added.
The change will also affect the bills of residents who consume excess amounts of water. Indian expat, Subodh Kumar, who lives with three children in Muscat, said that they would try to cut down on the use of water in daily life. “I don’t have a choice as the price of everything is increasing,” he said.
He added: “The [rising prices] will start to encourage the correction of beliefs and make people more conscious of using water, especially during summer months.”
The tariff for government institutions has also increased from 2 baisas per gallon to 3.5 baisas per gallon.
Commercial and industrial companies will also face an increase in their water fees, and the new decision stipulates that the tariff for the consumption of one gallon of water per month has increased to 3.5 baisas from the previous fee of 3 baisas.
To help with monitoring water consumption throughout the Sultanate, the authority previously announced that by 2019 it will begin implementing Automated Meter Readings (AMR) in the governorate of Muscat, with plans to set up 250,000 meters to cover all the wilayats of the governorate.
In order to curb public consumption of water, Diam has held a number of campaigns to raise awareness regarding the issue of saving water and water scarcity.
According to Diam, replacing traditional water taps which consume 11 litres of water per minute with smart taps that only consume three litres per minute due to its sensor feature could significantly help save more water.
Another mechanism that could aid in reducing the consumption of water is selecting efficient automatic washing machines, which consume 15-25 gallons of water rather than a top loader type of washing machine that consumes 40-45 gallons of water.
© Muscat Media Group