The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has scrapped a project that would have tackled contamination in the city’s main water reservoirs.
According to the BMC’s Environment Status Report that was released in late August, 16.03% of the city’s reservoir water was contaminated in 2010-11. The percentage of contaminated reservoir water in 2009-10 was 22.60%. The city has 26 reservoirs.
Last year, in an effort to curb the rise in water contamination levels, the civic body had decided to install toxic analysers at the Malabar Hill, Veravli and Trombay reservoirs, which supply water to parts of the island city, western and eastern suburbs respectively. The cost of the project was estimated at Rs5.5 crore.
The analysers would have detected foreign particles in reservoirs. If the analysers detected that the element was toxic in nature, it would have set off an alarm to alert civic officials and would have automatically switched off water supply from the affected reservoir.
However, after floating tenders for the project, the BMC began having second thoughts because of the high expenditure involved.
“The project has been scrapped as we don’t think such a huge sum should be spent on this project,” said Rajiv Jalota, additional municipal commissioner.
Jalota said that the one of the main reasons for scrapping the project was that the company that had been short-listed for the project enjoyed a market monopoly. In the absence of other competitive bids, the BMC had no way of verifying and comparing the cost quoted by the company.
“We didn’t think it was right to award such a huge contract to only one company, that too, without cost comparisons,” said Jalota.
He added the BMC was implementing several measures such as water pipeline replacement and leakage detection to reduce contamination.
Till date, the civic body relies on fish to check for contamination in lakes and reservoirs. “If fish are found dead in reservoirs, the water is sent for chemical testing,” said a civic official.