Madhavrao Chitale, an international expert in water resources and management, on Sunday said a hike in water tariff is inevitable and that the city’s water distribution system needs to be strengthened.
Chitale, who headed the fact-finding committee after the 2005 deluge, was addressing a seminar at Wadala on the eve of the 18th International Water Day.
On Sunday, citizens and non-governmental organisations came together to decide on how to manage and conserve water better.
Chitale said the city’s ageing water distribution system — the eighth largest in the world — was outdated and needed to be made more effective.
Public partnership was required to improve the city’s distribution system, he added.
“The BMC’s (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s) distribution system is outdated. As the civic body takes the help of the Advanced Locality Management (ALM) for managing solid waste, it should also use ALM’s help to make the system more effective,” said the expert on Mumbai’s water supply system. “The civic body needs to innovate.”
ALMs are groups formed by local residents who work in tandem with different authorities to make their localities better.
Chitale added that the BMC lacked a research team to predict the city’s future water needs. “We need to have on water management courses in out universities.”
Chitale said his committee had suggested that the BMC should undertake a geological survey of the city’s groundwater table.
“Even after so many years, the report is not in place and hence the groundwater reserves are depleting and are being overexploited. If continued this way, it runs a risk of salt-water intrusion, which might create a much graver problem in the future.”
Seema Redkar, officer on special duty with the BMC, said: “Citizens’ involvement in managing distribution network will be of great help and if managed well, will yield positive results.”
Professor Vishwas Walvalkar of NGO Enviro-Vigil, the seminar’s co-organiser, said: “We’ve decided to launch a programme on water conservation. Apart from starting an information centre on water, we will make students aware of the issue and train residents on waste-water and rain-water harvesting.”