Wait for desalination project, which will play crucial role in ending water woes of Mumbai and Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), may get over soon. The state government has decided to set up its first desalination plant on pilot-basis in Thane, for which the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) has working on detail project report (DPR) with the help of Pune University.
Maharashtra, including Mumbai, has been facing water crisis for the last several years. Besides 4,982 villages, most of them from Marathwada region, cities like Thane, Navi Mumbai and Kalyan, were also facing acute water shortage until June this year. Even Mumbai faced 20% water cut for almost a year i.e. from August 2015 to June 2016.
To end water woes in MMR, including Mumbai, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis declared hat the state is keen to set up desalination plant for treating seawater so that it can be used for drinking and other purposes.
This pilot project will be based on ‘reverse osmosis’ technology, commonly referred to as RO, which is a water purification process that uses a semipermeable membrane to remove ions, molecules, and larger particles from the water. The capacity of the project would be 20MLD (million litres per day), the sources said.
When contacted Sunil Chavan, additional municipal commissioner TMC, confirmed that they will be soon coming out with the DPR. “As we have no expertise in this field, we requested Pune University to help us in preparing DPR and they happily agreed. Their experts would soon be visiting locations that were identified for the project,” Chavan told HT. He refused to divulge further details of the project saying that the project currently is at a very initial stage.
Significantly, desalination process makes the water very expensive as well. According to a Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) official, desalinated water will cost around Rs70 for 1,000 litres whereas the civic body supplies the same amount of water at the cost of around Rs4.50 for residential purpose.
This was the reason that earlier state government had put their plans for setting up desalination plants on the back burner. In 2012, the then chief miister Prithviraj Chavan had shelved the idea citing high rates.
MMR region comprises eight municipal corporations — Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Kalyan-Dombivli, Ulhasnagar, Mira-Bhayander, Bhiwandi-Nizampur, and Vasai-Virar.