It may have rained in the last few days, but the water crisis is far from over. By September, Mumbai will require 1,200 mm to 1,300 mm of rain in the lakes’ catchment areas if it wants to avoid water cuts till the next monsoon.
So far, catchment areas of the six lakes that supply the city have received less than 25 per cent of the rainfall required to fill them up.
Normally, the city needs 1,500 mm to 1,700 mm in the catchment areas. This rainfall occurs between June and September, the normal monsoon period for the Konkan.
Mumbai receives its daily supply of 3,300 million litres from the Tansa, Vaitarna, Vihar, Tulsi, Upper Vaitarna and Bhatsa lakes. Of them, Vihar and Tulsi are in Mumbai’s national park area with rest in neighbouring Thane district.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has imposed a 30 per cent cut as water levels have dropped alarmingly in the lakes.
Till July 8, Tansa recorded less than 25 per cent of the rainfall compared to last year. Vaitarna recorded 208 mm (740 mm in 2008), Tansa 126 mm (643 mm in 2008), Vihar 438 mm (1,027 mm in 2008), Tulsi 270 mm (735 mm in 2008), Upper Vaitarna 195 mm (730 mm in 2008) and Bhatsa recorded 152 mm (776 mm in 2008).
Even if it rains well, it will take 10 to 12 days for lake levels to rise considerably. And water cuts will remain till the lakes fill up. The good news is that the BMC does not plan to increase the 30 per cent cut.
The last water crisis Mumbai faced was in 1992 when a desperate BMC turned to cloud seeding. But it failed. “This year we are thinking of cloud seeding [again]. We are talking to the Indian Meteorological Department,” Anil Diggikar, additional municipal commissioner, said.