Things are looking up for Mumbai on the water front because at least three of our big lakes are close to their overflow levels.
Heavy rainfall in the city’s catchment areas has seen an increase of more than 35,000 million litres of water in the lakes that feed the city, diminishing the threat of increased water cuts that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has been considering.
Currently, the lakes have 8.5 lakh million litres of water – Mumbai needs about 13 lakh million litres to comfortably sail through the year.
On Friday, across the six lakes — Tansa, Modak Sagar, Vihar, Tulsi, Upper Vaitarna and Bhatsa — that supply Mumbai 3,400 million litres of water a day, there was a total of 8.2 lakh million litres of water. On Sunday, that increased to 8.6 lakh million litres.
Tansa’s level is at 127.70 m (full capacity is 128.63 m), Tulsi is at 138.94 m (full capacity 139.17 m). Modak Sagar touched 161.83 m (full capacity 163.15 m).
Vihar is over 85 per cent full. The two lakes that haven’t kept up are Upper Vaitarna and Bhatsa, major suppliers to Mumbai and its eastern suburbs — they are only 70 per cent full.
“Lake levels are steadily improving, the total stock will last us 255 days,” said Municipal Commissioner Jairaj Phatak.
By 3 pm on Sunday, Modak Sagar recorded 15.20 mm of rain, Tansa got 13.40 mm, Vihar got 29.60 mm, Tulsi received 94 mm, Upper Vaitarna recorded no rain and Bhatsa got 11 mm.
“It’s been raining well in the catchment areas. If these three lakes overflow it’ll be good, but the other two — Upper Vaitarna and Bhatsa, which are major suppliers — are well below the overflow mark,” said BMC Chief Hydraulic Engineer, Dinesh Gondalia.
Some parts of the city including Mulund, Bhandup, Dahisar, Goregaon, Dindoshi and Deonar saw heavy rainfall on Saturday night continuing till Sunday afternoon.
While the city recorded 13.99 mm rainfall, the western and eastern suburbs got 30.11 mm and 56.74 mm respectively.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation ’s cloud seeding experiments continue.
More rain expected, Mumbai to be cooler
The bank of dark rain clouds lining the city’s skies could soon make up for the dry spell of the last two months.
Weathermen have predicted heavy rain next week. “We’re expecting heavy rain days (120 mm in 24 hours) in the coming week,” said RV Sharma, deputy director, India Meteorological Department (IMD), western region.
The rain deficit, which crossed the 400 mm mark last month, was down by half till Sunday.
IMD data says the city received 1,575.1 mm – 234 mm short of the normal average. The suburbs are better at 1,890.1 mm – only 162.6 mm below the average mark.
Heavy rainfall over the weekend not just in the city but across the state made this possible.
Vigorous movement by the southwest monsoon has created a low-pressure formation above the Bay of Bengal since September 4, resulting in heavy rain. “We’re expecting another such depression in about three days. If that happens we could soon cover the rain deficit,” added Sharma.
On Sunday the city saw heavy rain after many parched, dry days (when it rained less than 2.5 mm). The city got twice the amount of rain in the suburbs. Santacruz recorded 12.9 mm, while Colaba got 24.9 mm.
But that didn’t affect city traffic. Flights were on time and local train services was unaffected.
Some parts of the state, like Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Nandurbar, Nashik, Kolhapur, Solapur, Gadchiroli, Wardha, Buldhana and Nagpur got excess rainfall, ending many weeks of sparse showers.
Many other centres, like Raigad, Aurangabad, Beed, Jalna, Chandrapur, Amaravati, Akola, Gondia, Parbhani, Satara, Dhule, Parbhani, Bhandara and Akola also saw normal rainfall after a long dry spell.
The forthcoming wet spell is also expected to cool the hot, humid city. City temperatures could drop to a minimum of 25 degree Celsius.
Average humidity, however, is sticking to the 90 per cent mark.