Preserving water bodies doesn't rank too high on the civic body's list of priorities. Of the 103 tanks and ponds, less than 10% find place in Mumbai's existing development plan (DP).
As the civic body prepares a revised DP (2014 to 2034), a mapping by the Mumbai Metropolitan
Region-Environment Improvement Society (MMR-EIS) has found that only 10 water bodies are listed in the 1991 DP.
While six are classified as tanks, three as lakes and one as both a tank and a playground, none of these are protected under water body reservation.
According to the report, even the others "do not have any specific DP classification to indicate their status as a water body". Some are classified as playgrounds, recreation grounds, mills, police housing, industrial estates. "Water bodies need to have a separate classification and be protected or else they can be filled up for development," said Prasad Shetty, secretary, MMR-EIS.
Spread across 859 hectares, a majority of these tanks and ponds lie neglected. Apart from poor water quality, encroachments, dumping of solid waste, debris and evaporation loss due to loss of green cover, these water bodies also face the threat of being filled and being used for real estate development.
The report recommended that all water bodies must be marked and reserved only as water bodies in the new DP, with their areas and ownership mentioned.
It also found that over the past 30 years, many water bodies documented by various government and non-government agencies don't exist. The team found that only 107 (including four civic reservoirs) of the 143 water bodies identified by the agencies exist.
"The other 36 sites have chawls, buildings etc, or are open grounds," the report said.
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