BMC to start cloud seeding from Sept 1 | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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BMC to start cloud seeding from Sept 1

mumbai Updated: Aug 17, 2012 00:46 IST
HT Correspondent

Anticipating that the current dry spell will continue, the civic body has decided, finally, to go ahead with its cloud seeding experiment from September 1.

The project will cost the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation around Rs12 crore. The current water deficit in the city has risen to four million litres.

Municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte on Thursday announced that group leaders of all the political parties have cleared the project.

"We have tried this experiment in the past in 2009, but it failed because we didn't have enough scientific data. This time, we have collected all the data we need, with the help of three other agencies and have also taken the necessary precautions," said Kunte.

The civic body had asked India Meteorological Department (IMD), the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) and Mekorot, a government undertaking from Israel that specialises in cloud seeding, to provide details of the project.

The experiment will be carried out in the catchment area of the Bhatsa and Vaitarna rivers, which are Mumbai's main sources of water.

A special plane, to be brought from Israel, will be used for the procedure. Sodium chloride will be used in the experiment.

"We have been informed by IITM that cloud conditions in September are suitable to carry out the procedure. Reports also say that we will have enough rain to make up the water deficit, if we carry out the procedure for 12 to 15 days in the month of September."

The main opposition party, Congress, boycotted the group leaders' meeting, protesting against the decision. "The experiment was unsuccessful in 2009 and we wasted around Rs9 crore. Instead of long-term planning, the civic body is wasting public money," said Dyanraj Nikam of Congress.

Samajwadi Party leader Rais Sheikh, however, welcomed the decision, cautioning the civic administration to start thinking about long-term measures to tackle water scarcity.

Mumbai mayor Sunil Prabhu said that the civic administration is better prepared this year and the experiment will yield good results.