Brace for water cuts if dry spell continues | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Brace for water cuts if dry spell continues

With the rains playing truant and the city receiving only 40.6mm rain in the past 24 hours, the civic body has no contingency plan to help Mumbai tide over a water crisis.

mumbai Updated: Jul 04, 2011 00:58 IST
Kunal Purohit

With the rains playing truant and the city receiving only 40.6mm rain in the past 24 hours, the civic body has no contingency plan to help Mumbai tide over a water crisis.

According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), the city will receive light showers on Monday. RV Sharma, deputy director general of IMD, said, “The deep depression supposed to be in the western region in the Arabian Sea is not in a position to form rain clouds.”

However, the extended dry spell and statements by officials of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) have revived the fears of the city facing a repeat of 2009, when acute shortage of rainfall resulted in year-round water cuts.

At the time, civic officials and politicians had promised desalination plants, sewage treatment plants, bringing water from the Koyna Dam, and rainwater harvesting as contingency plans to counter inadequate rainfall.

However, two years down the line, the promises continue to remain on paper.

A senior civic official said most options were not viable. “The announcements were made due to extensive media and public pressure. But they aren’t viable financially or physically,” he said.

Dhaval Desai from the Observer Research Follow is drafting an extensive report about the city’s water supply. He said, “We are as badly prepared as we were in 2009-10.”

Desai said there was no need for back up plans. “The BMC should plug water leakages in the city. The civic body has spent crores of rupees on the Mumbai Sujal Abhiyan claiming to plug leakages. Why has the quantity of water lost due to leakages remained the same?”

Former hydraulic engineer TV Shah said the answer was within the BMC’s bureaucratic setup. “There is no consistent roadmap for a subject as important as the city’s water supply. Each IAS officer who takes over the reins scraps his predecessor’s ideas and brings in his own. As a result, the city suffers.”

Admitting that a back up plan for a city like Mumbai was not possible, a senior civic official said, “The only option is to plug leakages and ensure that water is conserved. If our per capita water consumption is not reduced, there will be no way to save Mumbai the next time the rains fail us.”