In an effort to tide over the water crisis which plagues the city because of uneven rainfall, the state has appointed a high-powered committee headed by the principal secretary of the urban development department to give recommendations on setting up a desalination plant in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).
“A high-powered committee has been appointed to undertake a study and give recommendations to the state on water recycling and desalination in the MMR,” says a Government Resolution dated August 23.
The nine-member high-level committee will be headed by T. C. Benjamin, Principal Secretary, Urban Development Department.
The high-powered committee will have to give its report in the next three months.
The ever-diminishing resources of potable water
have forced authorities to look at setting up desalination plants.
A team of bureaucrats and the chief minister had, in June, visited a desalination plant in Singapore to understand if the model could be replicated in Mumbai.
The state government is looking at setting up a minimum of three plants, which will have a capacity of converting nearly 500 million litres daily (MLD) of sea water into potable water.
Desalination plants remove excess salt and other minerals in order to convert salt water to fresh water.
The areas that are being looked at are in Mira Bhayander, Vasai and Mumbai.
A desalination plant will need an area of approximately seven hectares near the coast.
According to rough estimates, it costs roughly Rs 4.5 crore to set up a desalination plant with a processing capacity of one MLD.
However a project being built on a larger scale will cost less because the economies of scale will come into force and help in lowering the cost of the project.
This is not the first time the state is contemplating setting up a desalination plant.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is already contemplating setting up its own desalination plant.
The municipal corporation had submitted a request letter to the Central government seeking funds for setting up its own desalination plant, which could process around 100 MLD of water.
The cost of the corporation’s desalination plant was pegged at Rs 800 crore, which would cater to homes only within the city.
However, the project has still not taken off.