The deluge on July 26, 2005, brought the city to its knees. Faced with severe criticism, the civic body started rehauling Mumbai’s antiquated storm water drain network. Exactly five years later, only 20 per cent of the work is done, and the city remains as ill-equipped to handle heavy rains and floods.
Of the 20 projects under phase 1 of the Brihanmumbai Storm Water Drain (Brimstowad) scheme, only 11 are done. In phase 2, not a single project is ready.
And now the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) plans to start phase 3 of the project, from August. The reason: It has realised doing the city’s contour mapping is urgent and that was slotted for phase 3.
A contour map plots the city’s topography, showing elevations and slopes, and will help determine the kind of work that has to be done to prevent flooding.
The BMC had pushed it to a later phase as the defence ministry objected. It has now done an aerial survey of the city, the first step in contour mapping. “We have submitted the findings to the defence ministry. Their nod is expected soon,” said Chandrakant Watve, chief engineer, storm water drains.
The BMC also appointed a consultant for recommendations in three to four months. “These will be forwarded to IIT-Bombay, which will give its own take on them,” Watve said.
Phase 3 will also focus on the small drains. Brimstowad’s first two phases focus on strengthening and augmenting major drains. “Widening and desilting the major nullahs are meaningless if the smaller drains stay the same,” an official said, requesting anonymity.