Swimming enthusiasts have something to cheer about — the city will get its first Olympic standard swimming pool next year.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Sunday laid the foundation stone for upgrading the Mahatma Gandhi Municipal Swimming Pool in Dadar (West). The project will take approximately 15 months to complete and cost about Rs 40 crore.
“The current pool at that site is in a terribly derelict state and we had originally planned the new pool in 2007,” said project head Shashi Prabhu.
The project entails a diving pool, warm-up pool, children’s pool, racing pool, spectators’ gallery with a seating capacity of 2,000 and a museum dedicated to the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement (see graphic).
The area of the entire plot is around four acres and the museum will be spread on an area of 10,000 sq m.
“This will be the first facility in India to utilise ozonisation and not chlorination to purify the water, as is used in most pools,” said Prabhu. “Chlorine is harmful and if used even slightly in excess, can cause all sorts of health problems.”
Ozonisation is a process where a filter treats water entering and leaving the pool with ozone to purify it. “This way water purification will take only five hours, as opposed to the eight hours that the process usually takes,” he said. “Additionally, the pH levels (which determine the acidity) of the water will be closely monitored and kept as neutral as possible.”
Fresh from the task of building a swimming pool in Pune for the Commonwealth Games, which is nearly four times the size of new facility being planned in Dadar, the challenge immediately ahead of Prabhu’s team of architects is to build a strong retaining wall between the pools and the Arabian Sea.
“The horizontal force generated by the waves is almost 500 tonnes and we need to have a strong wall to prevent water entering the pools,” Prabhu said.
The intake capacity for the existing pool is 300, while the intake for the new facility is expected to be 700, he said.
Mahatma Gandhi Municipal Pool has often remained shut in recent years due to repair works.