Water cuts are a very real possibility this year if the current lull in the monsoon continues for 20 more days.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has declared that lakes supplying water to the city have enough stock for unrestricted supply only till July 20. If it doesn’t rain till then, the civic body will have to start looking at options to curb water usage.
However, despite repeated requests by corporators of the civic’s standing committee to have a back-up plan in case it doesn’t rain till then, civic officials said they would be able to make the plan public only by next week, when the committee meets again.
Corporators have expressed doubts about the existence of a backup plan, lambasting the civic body for the delay in waking up to a potential water crisis in the city. Ramesh V Bambale, the city’s hydraulic engineer sounded a precautionary note, saying, “We have sufficient water for the city until July 20, but if it does not rain well in the next few days, the water stock will drastically reduce.”
Criticising civic officials for the delay in briefing the committee about the steps taken, in case it doesn’t rain till July 20, Bharatiya Janata Party corporator Ashish Shelar said figures were worrying. “Figures show dismal water levels in a lot of lakes. There hasn’t been adequate rainfall, even though we’ve reached the end of June. We cannot control the rain gods, but we can at least have contingency plans to counter the effects of lack of rain.”
Standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale has now ordered the civic body to come up with a back-up plan by next week.
“There has been absolutely no attempt by the BMC to come up with a contingency plan in case it doesn’t rain. By next week, BMC officials should prepare a detailed contingency plan which will tell us the steps it wishes to take in case of scanty rainfall.”
Another BJP corporator and improvements committee chairman Bhalchandra Shirsat slammed municipal chief Subodh Kumar’s new approach towards solutions proposed to tackle the water crisis.
Hindustan Times had reported how the civic administration has scrapped plans for desalination plants, which had been touted by previous civic officials as the answer to the city’s water problems.