50 ruptures in past 5 years | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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50 ruptures in past 5 years

The 100-year-old Tansa water main that burst on Monday evening, necessitating a 35 per cent water cut across Mumbai, ruptured more than 50 times in the last five years.

mumbai Updated: Mar 17, 2010 01:17 IST

The 100-year-old Tansa water main that burst on Monday evening, necessitating a 35 per cent water cut across Mumbai, ruptured more than 50 times in the last five years.

The pipeline stretches 41 kilometres between Tansa lake and Tarali village near Bhiwandi, and the ruptures resulted in the loss of several million litres of water. According to civic data, the pipe ruptured 11 times in 2009 alone.

The old, creaking pipelines, laid during the British Raj, have been the bane of Mumbai’s 4,000-kilometre water network. The Tansa sector has been the most problematic.

“Within city limits, the 250-km Tansa distribution network, which is 100 years old, ruptured more than 300 times in 2009 alone. Not all the breaches were major, but they did affect water supply,” said a civic official, requesting anonymity.

The exercise of replacing the mains was begun in 2007, but officials said it was cumbersome and time-consuming.

“Since the Tansa line witnessed the most ruptures, we took up its replacement on a priority basis,” said Pradeep Ajgaonkar, chief engineer (water supply projects).

Work on the Tansa main began in 2008, but so far only six kilometres have been replaced.

The Tansa east and west lines supply 455 million litres of water to the city every day.

David Ehrhardt, chief executive of Castalia Ltd, a global infrastructure consultancy firm that in June 2007 studied Andheri’s water supply with money from the World Bank, said in his report: “There is enough water for a 24-hour supply, but it is wasted due to the many leaks in its old pipe network.”

There have been complaints that villagers near Tansa puncture the main to withdraw water illegally, which leads to ruptures and contamination. “We plan to appoint private guards,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Anil Diggikar. A contract worth Rs 68 crore has been awarded for two years to a security agency.