After dilly-dallying for years, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is finally waking up to the need to find and tap alternative sources of water for the city.
The BMC, which has imposed an unprecedented 30 per cent water cut in Mumbai, is now looking at desalination of sea water, rainwater harvesting and borewells to augment supplies. It plans to identify sites for water harvesting and to send a team of engineers to study the desalination plant in Chennai.
“We are considering more options,” said Municipal Commissioner Jairaj Phatak. “If there is no rain for the next one or one and half months, we will send our engineers to study the desalination plants, apart from activating dugwells and borewells.”
There are more than 12,351 borewells and wells in the city that can provide 300 million litres a day.
“We will identify at least 10 sites where rain water harvesting will be practised. We will also review bulk users and decide on whether their water usage should be bought under control,” said Anil Diggikar, Additional Municipal Commissioner (Projects).
The recent showers, though inadequate, have brought some cheer as storage in the six lakes that feed the city is rising, if slowly. “The storage in the lakes has risen by 1000 million litres over the previous day’s levels even after supplying 3,000 million litres to the city,” Phatak said on Friday.
As of now the Bhatsa lake that supplies water to the eastern suburbs has 1.10 lakh million litres, which will last for about 50 days.
Tansa and Vaitarna, which feed the western suburbs and the Island city, have 28.3 thousand million litres of water, which will last for about 21 days at the present rate of supply.
The BMC has also got its act together and in the last three days managed to detect and repair 171 leakages in the city’s water mains.
No mean achievement given that the city loses about 700 million litres.