Slow off the blocks
It’s taken an unprecedented water crisis for the civic body and state government to fast track two crucial water supply projects. But even the first of these will take another five years to be completed.mumbai Updated: Jun 01, 2010 00:47 IST
With the water scarcity in most parts of Maharashtra, and especially in Mumbai, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the state government are fast-tracking two water supply projects — the Gargai and Pinjal dams.
The original deadlines set by the Chitale Committee were 2020 for Gargai and 2025 for Pinjal, but now they are 2017 and 2015 respectively.
The BMC has pinned it hopes on these new projects to bridge the gap between demand and supply.
After the 15 per cent water cut, the BMC supplies 2,900 million litres a day (MLD) to Mumbai against a demand of 4,400 MLD. According to the Chitale Committee report, the demand will rise to 5,010 MLD by 2011 and 5,300 MLD in 2021.
While the Gargai project is being executed by the BMC, the Pinjal dam will be built by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority due to a cash crunch in the BMC.
Gargai and Pinjal are both tributaries of the Vaitarna river.
The dam across Gargai will be built at Ogade in the Thane region, 120 km from Mumbai. The Pinjal dam will be built near Andheri, 130 km from the city. Work on the Gargai project will begin only after the Middle Vaitarna dam is completed in 2012.
The Middle Vaitarna dam will add 455 MLD to the city’s daily supply. Gargai and Pinjal would augment the supply by 440 MLD and 865 MLD respectively.
“The Middle Vaitarna project will not be as beneficial as it could have been because it was delayed by 10 years,” said Madhavrao Chitale, an international water expert. He said the future projects should be implemented immediately.
“Gargai’s feasibility report has been sent to the Central Works Commission for ratification. Once it’s approved, we will push for permission from the Environment Ministry,” said a BMC official.
“Once these projects are complete, the burden on the six water-supplying lakes will reduce,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Anil Diggikar.
The state’s initiative to link rivers along the Maharashtra and Gujarat coastlines will also bring more water to the city. The Damanganga-Pinjal link in particular will benefit Mumbai, with Chief Minister Ashok Chavan announcing recently that it would bring 600-900 MLD to the city.