The state government issued an advisory to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation last week to not depend on rainwater as a source of water.
The advisory come in the wake of the severe water shortage faced by the city due to scanty rainfall last monsoon. The city is currently facing a 15 per cent water cut, which is expected to continue until the end of the next monsoon.
The state government has advised the BMC to create a network of seawater desalination plants across the city on a public-private-partnership (PPP) model, in which water can be sent to a central water grid or purchased by private users.
The state government has also suggested that the BMC employ measures such as water pumps and underground tanks to ensure that fag-end of the supply chain and elevated areas get water.
“The unpredictable nature of rains has led to less water storage in the reservoirs and less water supply to city. To tackle this, we need to think of alternate water sources like using sea water and ways to improve available water supply through sump-pumps,” said Manu Kumar Srivastava, Secretary Urban Development, explaining the advisory.
The state suggests that private players could be invited to set up desalination plants near the sea and process the water and pay a conveyance charge to the civic body.
The water produced from there will either be supplied to a private user or can be put on the central water grid at an agreeable rate.
“The idea we have put forth is to clear few houses which are eligible for rehabilitation and move them to tenements and use that space to set up storage tanks and pumps that will help improve water supply for the remaining houses in a low pressure or elevated area,” Srivastava added.
The civic body is already acting on the advisory.
“We have met the Chief Minister Ashok Chavan to discuss the desalination proposal and are going ahead with it. After a pilot project that we have floated on PPP, we will
take a call on the network model,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Anil Diggikkar.