The water you drink every day could be making you very sick.
A study of water samples collected from across Mumbai shows the water we consume is getting dirtier, even when the civic body is spending crores to improve the quality of drinking water. Its environment status report (ESR) for 2015-16 shows contamination levels rose to 4.6% from last year’s 4.5 %.
Mulund, Bandra and Dongri get the dirtiest water, the report shows, with contamination levels as high as 13%, 10% and 8% respectively. At Dahisar, contamination levels went up to 6% from last year’s 3%; Parel, Sewree and Goregaon recorded a rise of 1% .
Contamination levels are an indicator of how much mud and harmful bacteria is present in the water. The ESR provides an annual status of the important indicators of Mumbai’s standard of living, such as air and water quality, and is released by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) every year on August 1. The report is supposed to be made available to all corporators and is sent to the state government, but so far, it hasn’t been published yet.
Sources from the water department said the BMC has spent Rs500 crore between 2007 and 2012 to replace old pipelines, which are a major cause of the contamination. This year too, the BMC will spend Rs278 crore for pipeline work. Last year, 43km of water pipes across the city were replaced.
But officials admit the task of replacing old pipelines has been slow and cumbersome and that it will be a while before the entire water supply network can be overhauled.
Meanwhile, citizens and experts have cast doubts over the report’s findings.
“The report only mentions the percentage of the contamination in the samples, but the total number of samples tested should also be mentioned. There are so many complaints the BMC gets about dirty water, but these are not attended to and are unrecorded, keeping the number low,”said Nikhil Desai, an activist from Matunga.
Elected representatives questioned the credibility of the report, and asked why it was yet to be published.
“The BMC is guarding the report from coming out. According to a BMC act, the report has to be tabled in the general body by August 1, but this hasn’t been done yet,”said Devendra Amberkar, Congress corporator.