The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) ambitious plans to undertake a survey of the city’s groundwater levels has failed to take off. The plan to study excessive withdrawal of ground water was to start in January 2016, but the BMC has not been able to do it owing to technical reasons, officials from the hydraulic department confirmed.
The study was to be undertaken by a Pune-base semi-governmental organisation named Ground Water Surveys and Development (GSDA). The organisation was roped in to conduct the study in three phases — pre-monsoon, during monsoon and post monsoon, after which the report would have been submitted in 2017.
Now, officials say if there is further delay in the study, then it will be shifted to the next monsoon cycle as the city is just a month away from monsoons. This means, a delay of another year for a city already reeling under water cuts.
A civic official from the hydraulic department said, “We are facing technical difficulties with the base map to be used for conducting the study. We are in talks with the organisation and expect the study to start soon. If it fails to take off now, we will have to postpone the study to the next monsoon cycle.”
The plans to conduct this study have been in the works since 2011, when the civic body had to postpone it owing to an excessive staff crunch. The proposal for the study is worth Rs28 lakh.
The study was to be undertaken on a pilot basis in the M/East (Govandi) and P/South (Goregaon) wards in the city. A groundwater survey is essential to access the amount of water underneath the city. It is particularly useful while granting permissions to dig borewells in the city. Officials say the permissions were given all these years without having this data in hand. They also confirmed that the pilot ward — Goregaon — is likely to have the highest number of borewells dug in the city.