The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has decided that while domestic users will continue with a 15 per cent water cut, for commercial users it will be 30 per cent.
“The original proposal to hike the cut to 30 per cent for the year was opposed by corporators. The consensus was to continue with the 15 per cent cut for home users, and hike it for commercial users,” said Mayor Shubha Raul.
The cuts will begin from Thursday, and result in the city drawing around 3,000 million litres of water per day (MLD), instead of its usual 3,400 MLD. Hotels, factories and other commercial establishments will get 30 per cent less water.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Anil Diggikar said commercial units account for 15 per cent of daily consumption. “Five-star hotels, malls and bottling plants use 500 MLD; after the hike in cuts we’ll save 150 MLD,” he said. Current stock in the six lakes supplying water to Mumbai is 9.5 lakh million litres, which the BMC says will last till July 15.
To reach the July target, the BMC is looking at alternative sources of supply. “We’re looking at sources like borewells, desalination plants, sewage treatment plants and rainwater harvesting,” added Diggikar.
Some experts don’t agree. “A plant to desalinate sea water will take at least three years to begin, and a sewage treatment plant will take a few more months. So these alternative sources are only on paper. Dug wells and bore wells will help but to a limited extent,” said Anand Deodhar, a former BMC hydraulic engineer. He suggested the BMC impose a 30 per cent cut in winter, for a month, instead of making water cut plans for the whole year.
Former municipal commissioner Jairaj Phatak said: “We have 23 per cent less water in the lakes compared to last year. Only if we save at least 23 per cent totally, it will last till June.”
A toll-free number – 108 – for complaints of water theft and leakage will be functional from November 1.