To gauge the extent and nature of the city’s water usage, and to account for the millions of litres we lose to wastage every year, the BMC is planning a water audit.
To execute the project, it will appoint a private consultant, who will, on a pilot basis, roll it out at Bhuleshwar, Girgaum, Goregaon and Malad. More than 10 firms — all foreign —have shown interest.
The winning bidder will be named in a week.
The audit will happen at three levels — Ground Penetration Radar (GPR), to detect pipelines, sensors and Geographic Information System (GIS), and flow meters to detect leakages.
“The audit, done physically with the help of the relevant technological tools, will give us an estimate of the size of water losses in the system. The audit will map leakages, water usage, amount of water supplied, and the nature of use,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner, Anil Diggikar.
The study in these four wards will be completed in three months.
Other wards will be taken up subsequently.
Without the water cuts in force, the city is supplied 3,400 million litres of water daily, more than 20 per cent of which is lost to theft, leakage and pilferage.
“The BMC needs to carry out this kind of audit to determine the city’s usage patterns,” said Standing Committee Chairman, Rahul Shewale.
“The administration has been functioning with estimates all these years.”
The audit will also help the BMC formulate steps to curb wastage, Diggikar added.
BARC to help civic body build four desalination plants
The municipality has formed a committee to study the feasibility of setting up seawater desalination plants at four locations in the city — two in the western suburbs and one each in the island city and an eastern suburb.
“The five-member committee, with two representatives from the BMC and three from Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), will prepare a feasibility report, which will be analysed before the tender process for the installation of the plant,” said Anil Diggikar, additional municipal commissioner (Projects).
Sixteen private companies have submitted offers for the project to the BMC, which plans to install these desalination plants at Malad and Borivli, in the western suburbs, Mankhurd in the east, and at Wadala on Mumbai Port Trust land in the island city. The BMC had earlier considered Navy land at Colaba for the plant but decided against it when it found the plot encroached on by slumdwellers.
The desalination process converts seawater into potable water through reverse osmosis. In December 2009, BMC chief Swadheen Kshatriya had visited BARC’s desalination plant near Mankhurd. BARC uses desalinated water even for potable use, which is why the BMC believes it is qualified to advise on setting up desalination plants for the city.
It a BMC standing committee meeting, Kshatriya said the administration sees the desalination project as top priority.
The project has assumed urgency given the fact that last year’s poor rainfall has seen water stocks in the city’s lakes drop precariously, forcing the BMC to impose a 15 per cent water cut for domestic users and 30 per cent for commercial users. The city’s demand is 4,200 million litres of water daily (MLD) but its current supply is only 2,900 MLD.
Of the committee tasked with preparing the feasibility report, the BMC representatives are P.K. Charankar, BMC officer on special duty, who will chair the committee, and Vinay Deshpande, water department chief engineer.