Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has urged the saffron-controlled Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to take initiatives to ease the water crisis in Mumbai.
Speaking in the state legislature, Chavan justified water cuts in Mumbai, which had to be imposed because of scanty rainfall. He asked the civic body to take measures to curb water thefts and improve distribution. He promised the government's full cooperation in meeting the city’s growing demand for water.
Chavan was replying to calling attention motion moved by Mumbai’s legislators. “The Centre and State government will continue to help BMC financially,” said Chavan.
Chavan advocated the prevention of water thefts, rainwater harvesting and desalination of salt water. “Desalinated water can be used for washing cars and sanitation purposes,” he said. He said a feasibility study for a 10 MLD desalination pilot project would start after finalising 18 bids of interest.
The city administration has enforced 15 to 30 per cent water cuts in the past four months. Mumbai requires 4,200 (demand is 4,200 mld) million liters of water a day (MLD) but the current supply is only 2,900 MLD.
Legislators accused the BMC of favouring high rises and luxury apartments for water supply. Nationalist Congress Party legislator Jitendra Awhad said there was a nexus between the water mafia and civic officials who facilitated water thefts.
Chavan said he expected the BMC to take strict action against the water mafia. “Towers requiring 2 lakh liters of water a day will be given permission for construction only after the Middle Vaitarana Project is completed,” said Chavan. Civic group leaders, however, had refuted this proposal when it was tabled in 2009.