Repair work on a critical Malad water tunnel that was damaged in February, began on Monday, squeezing water supply to residents in areas between Malad to Borivli.
The 12-km tunnel that runs 80 m below the ground was damaged during digging for an illegal borewell. “It will take at least two to three days to dewater the tunnel and pass a camera through the tunnel to assess the damage,” said Dineshchandra Gondalia, deputy municipal commissioner.
He added: “In order to mitigate the impact of the repairs, we have diverted our supply through an older system of pipelines, resulting in low water pressure, and at some places there is very little supply.”
Officials said special techniques, which a BMC engineering team learnt in Germany, will be used to seal the breach.
The repair will be done by Hindustan Construction Company, which built the tunnel, and will cost the BMC Rs 5 crore. BMC officials said around 3,500 tankers (3.5 crore ltr of water) will be pumped out from the punctured tunnel. It will take about a month to complete the repair.
“The repair work is making the already bad situation worse. The BMC hasn’t even told us by when they will complete the repairs,” said Vasanta Reddy, a housewife from Kandivli.
The 3,000-mm tunnel, which supplies water to areas between Malad and Dahisar, was punctured on February 12, resulting in a loss of five million litre of water every day.
The BMC had temporarily resolved the problem by inserting a wooden plug to stop the leak, but it didn’t work — water began gushing out through the cracks, affecting the foundations of buildings in the vicinity.