Private firms to help bring Koyna dam water to city | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Private firms to help bring Koyna dam water to city

To ease Mumbai’s water woes, the state government has decided to rope in private firms to help draw water released from a hydro power plant on Koyna dam in Satara district, 250 km from Mumbai, and divert it to the city.

mumbai Updated: Feb 03, 2011 02:04 IST
Sujit Mahamulkar

To ease Mumbai’s water woes, the state government has decided to rope in private firms to help draw water released from a hydro power plant on Koyna dam in Satara district, 250 km from Mumbai, and divert it to the city.

But experts are sceptical about the viability of the project. “We have invited expressions of interest and have got good response with seven to eight international companies participating in the bidding. Detailed study about feasibility, water distribution and expenditure on the same will be ready in two to three months,” said Sunil Tatkare, state water resources minister on Wednesday.

Mumbai currently receives 3,350 million litre daily (mld) water from six lakes — Modak Sagar, Bhatsa, Upper Vaitarna, Tulsi, Vihar and Tansa.

To meet Mumbai’s water demand, which falls short by around 900 million litre daily (mld), the municipal corporation had proposed to draw water from the Koyna dam in April 2010, at an estimated cost of more than Rs 40,000 crore.

Since the cost involved was huge, the state government had taken initiative for the same.

Following the municipal corporation’s demand, the state government had assigned a feasibility study for the project.
Around 6,800 mld water released from Koyna dam is used in its hydro power plant and finally released into the Arabian sea through Vasisthi river in Chiplun (Konkan).

The plan is to supply this water to Mumbai through pipelines. “If we could divert this water to the Mumbai, we would never face shortfall for years,” said mayor Shraddha Jadhav.

Rakesh Dhaktode, an official from irrigation department at Koyna dam, said the government has decided to work on the project on a build, operate and transfer basis.

But experts point out that it is not an easy job. “I feel the project is very expensive and very complicated as water will have to be pumped and diverted to the city,” said Madhav Chitale, water management expert.

“Mumbai receives water at a cheaper rate because it is drawn from lakes by gravitational force and not by pumping.

Drawing and diverting water from sea level up to 250 to 300 km away would prove very costly. Also acquisition of the land and laying pipeline through the Sahyadri ranges will be difficult,” he added.