Bhatsa, which supplies 60 per cent of Mumbai's water, is 95 per cent full. The Irrigation Department has decided it will not allow it to fill any more as that could lead to flooding in neighbouring villages and pose a threat to the Bhatsa dam wall. If it rains any further, officials will release the water rather than let it collect in the reservoir.
"The Irrigation Department released some water from Bhatsa on Monday to avoid floods in the area and to save the dam wall," confirmed an under secretary of the department on condition of anonymity. The full supply level at Bhatsa is 142.07 metres
This has raised the likelihood of a year free of water cuts. The 15 per cent cut imposed after last year's poor monsoon was reduced to five per cent recently. However, the cut has been withdrawn for the festive season. "Bhatsa is almost full; it's a great relief," said Anil Diggikar, additional municipal commissioner. "Though it has rained well in catchment areas, we will review the water cut in the last week of September."
The total water stock in the six lakes supplying Mumbai is 11.82 lakh million litres; the capacity is 13.19 lakh million litres. On August 31 last year, it was 7.97 lakh million litres.
"There is no need for a water cut any more. We have enough for the entire year, but the municipal commissioner will take the final decision," said a Water Department official on condition of anonymity.
Four of the six lakes are full. Modak Sagar and Tulsi overflowed on July 27, Tansa on August 6 and Vihar on August 19. Upper Vaitarna, the other major lake, is only two metres short of the overflow level.