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24x7 water supply? Not possible now

mumbai Updated: Sep 26, 2009 02:44 IST
Amrita U. Kadam

Not so long ago, the municipal corporation promised 24-hour water supply to your house.

But as things stand, it might be a tall order to keep their word.

The corporation has now admitted that the city’s demand is growing by 80 to 100 million litres daily (MLD) every year.

At present, the water demand is 4,250 million litres, while the civic body supplies only 3,450MLD resulting in a shortage of 800MLD.

“The city’s water demand increases by 80-100 MLD every year. We have undertaken long term projects to handle the situation,” said Deputy Municipal Commissioner Promod Charankar.

However, with the increase in population and the growing demand of water, in the next five years the increase will be of 500MLD.

This in turn would mean that the city’s requirement would be nearly 4,750 million liters by 2014.

The civic body’s long term plans include the Middle Vaitarna dam project that promises city with an increase of 455MLD by April 2012. However, despite this project going on stream, there will still be a shortage of nearly 500 to 600MLD.

Two dams at Gargai and Pinjal, with expected yields of 4,55 and 8,55 MLD respectively, are also in the pipeline.

But these two projects will be undertaken only after 2012 and will be completed by 2017 and 2021. The recent proposal to increase the height of the floodgates at Tansa dam by a foot to increase the storage capacity is awaiting the feasibility study by the Central Design Organisation.

The municipal corporation had also set aside Rs 100 crore in the 2009 budget to replace the water pipes in order to reduce almost 20 per cent of water lost due to leakages.

“The ongoing work of repairing nearly 1,000 wells will get the city an additional 200MLD,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner, Anil Diggikar.

However, the civic body’s own estimate of the growing demand indicates that all these measures may not be enough to meet the city’s demand.

“Undertaking the projects at appropriate time would at the very least curb this constant gap as the projection is done for twenty years from the date of planning,” said Prakash Sanglikar, former deputy municipal commissioner.

More water cuts after Diwali

The civic body has now said that the city is short of three month’s water supply. Which means there will be more water cuts after Diwali, when the situation will be reviewed.

The total water content in the six lakes that supply water to the city at present is 9.4 lakh million litres as compared to 13 lakh million litres of last year.

With the daily consumption of 3,450 million litres the stock will last for just 275 days.

At present, the city is facing 15 per cent water cut and most of the city’s elevated areas face maximum water crisis as the water distribution system is based on gravity.

The civic administration says they will try and avoid more water cuts.

“We think with the 15 per cent water cut, we can manage the water crisis. But the review will be taken in October end and decision on further cuts or maintaining the cuts would be taken,” said Municipal Commissioner Jairaj Phatak.

The municipal corporation is relying on the India Meteorological Department that has predicted good rainfall and moisture-laden clouds till October 10.

With the cloud seeding experiments it also wants to capitalise on the presence of clouds that would be made to precipitate artificially.

Since August 23, nearly 114 experiments have been carried out and the officials say that this has increased the rainfall by around 15 to 20 per cent.