From Saturday, the 10 per cent water cut imposed on the city will rise to 20 per cent — because the rains are late and the lakes are starved.
While the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will impose the 20 per cent cut uniformly across the city, the western suburbs, and elevated areas like Malabar Hill in south Mumbai, will be among the worst hit.
The 10 per cent cut has been in place since June 8.
“The monsoon is expected by Monday, but even if it does arrive on that day, it takes at least three weeks for the lakes to fill up, so the cuts will continue till July 1,” said Anil Diggikar, additional municipal commissioner. Mumbai gets 3,300 million litres per day (MLD). After the cut is imposed, it will save 150 MLD.
The city gets its daily water supply from six lakes — Tansa, Vaitarna, Vihar, Tulsi, Upper Vaitarna and Bhatsa. As of now, levels in all lakes except Bhatsa are precariously low. Tansa’s level has gone so low that no more water will be drawn from it.
Bhatsa supplies about 2,020 MLD, of which 1,300 MLD goes to the eastern suburbs, the rest to the city’s western suburbs.
“Bhatsa’s level is higher compared to last year, but it can only supply to the eastern suburbs and not the island city or the western suburbs because of a technical snag,” added Diggikar.
To help citizens cope with the cut, the BMC will ask water tanker owners to prioritise residential users above commercial demands.
Municipal Commissioner Jairaj Phatak said: “We’ll try our best to help citizens but they should also do their bit by using water carefully.”
Supply to swimming pools and five-star hotels will be reduced. The BMC is also looking at Mumbai’s 1,400 borewells as a partial solution.
“The BMC has allotted Rs 2 crore to each zone to develop borewells,” added Phatak. On an average, each borewell can supply 10,000 litres of water per day.