As the rain lashed Mumbai on Tuesday, the Mithi river rose to the danger mark and inundated low-lying areas.
The highest rainfall was recorded in Kurla — 174 mm in seven hours (8.30 am to 3.30 pm). The Mithi, which crossed the 3.1-metre level at 4.15 pm, coinciding with the high tide, was considered responsible for the flooding of Mumbai on July 26, 2005, causing heavy loss of life and property.
The 18-km-long Mithi, which runs through several suburbs, leaves key areas like the airport, Western Express Highway and Bandra-Kurla Complex inundated every time it overflows.
By afternoon, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) began evacuating families from Kranti Nagar and other areas along the river. “About 140 people were shifted to the nearby Bail Bazaar Municipal School in Kurla,” said Vilas Vaidya, chief officer of the Disaster Management Cell.
“The BMC alerted the fire brigade at 2.30 pm when the Mithi breached the 2.5-metre mark. We contacted the navy when the Mithi rose to 2.7 mt. People were evacuated after it crossed the danger level,” said Manisha Mhaiskar, additional municipal commissioner and in charge of the cell.
The Mithi receded after the high tide ended at 4.35 pm and was at 1.7 mt in the evening.
Water logging was reported at Kurla station, LBS Road, Kajupada, Pipeline Road, Brahmanwadi, Surve Chowk, Kalpana and Sheetal Talkies, Sakinaka and Nahar.
Every year, the river, 11 km of which lies in the BMC’s jurisdiction, is desilted, deepened and widened. But the channel narrows close to the airport’s main runway, making it vulnerable to flooding.
The Mithi is the confluence of some of the discharge of Powai and Vihar lakes. It originates at Powai and meets the Arabian Sea at Mahim Creek. It flows through the residential and industrial complexes of Powai, Saki Naka, Kurla and Mahim. It passes through several slum areas. Raw sewage is discharged into the river along with industrial effluent and garbage.
Cattlesheds at Bail Bazaar, Jari Mari and Andheri-Kurla Road discharge animal waste into the river.