Experts from Belgium, technical equipment from Germany, overseas deep-sea divers, fire fighting systems, emergency oxygen and 24x7 monitoring of oxygen levels.
All of that went into fixing the Malad water supply tunnel that had ruptured, affecting water supply to Mumbai, and wasting around 500 million litres every day.
The tunnel was damaged on February 12, by locals who were illegally digging a tube well. With the repairs complete, drinking water supply to the western suburbs is expected to be back to normal in a few days.
Given the critical nature of the problem, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation had invited urgent out-of-the-box thinking from a range of experts in the field. Planned as a 55-day project, the repairs were completed in 30 days.
Vinayak Deshpande, president and chief operating officer at Hindustan Construction Company (HCC), which performed the repairs, said: “The challenge was to conceptualise and plan the most appropriate methodology to restore the damaged tunnel to its original condition. We deployed overseas technicians and imported critical sophisticated equipment.”
Since the damaged tunnel was about 80 mtr below the ground, it was not possible to assess the extent of the damage, or conduct repairs from above ground level. Even though water supply had been stopped to the affected portion, the water that had gushed out had been seeping back into the tunnel, posing a serious threat to the foundations of nearby high-rise buildings.