Cries for more water supply, own dam in Thane grow louder
With several areas in the city reeling under the water crisis, the demand to have its own dam and to stop giving permissions for new constructions have gained momentum. Several societies along the Ghodbunder Road in Thane receive water for barely 45 minutes or even less in a day. Most of them have to heavily depend on tankers for their water requirement.
During the pandemic situation, residents have alleged that when water is of utmost importance to maintain sanitation and while most of them are facing financial crisis, the water crises and tanker bills have worsened the situation.
The city’s population is more than 20 lakh and receives 480 mld of water supply daily. A PIL was filed in the High Court three years ago to stop new construction activities on Ghodbunder Road unless the corporation provided them with water connections. The Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) has assured the court that the city has enough water for these complexes.
Dyaneshwar Nikam, 54, a resident of Kabra Galaxy, said, “We used to get ample water supply till two or three years ago. However, with the increase in number of new constructions along Ghodbunder Road, the water problems have increased. We believe our supply is diverted to the new constructions. At present, we receive water only for 30 to 40 minutes, which is insufficient for a four-tower society with 158 flats.”
Nikam said that their complex was heavily dependent on water tankers. “We pay water tax and also end up paying extra for the tankers. The corporation should stop permitting new buildings till all the existing ones have sufficient water supply.”
Own dam pending (SUBHEAD)
The project of the city’s own dam, Shahi Dam, is also pending for a long time owing to lack of funds. The municipal corporations in the district had, last year, decided to share the cost of construction of the dam. However, the project is still in a limbo.
V Shivkumar, convenor of Brahmand Federation, a cluster of 31 societies, added, “Thane is older than Navi Mumbai. However, the city does not have its own dam. The city is expanding exponentially. To fulfil the water requirement, dam is the only solution. The water supply in Brahmand is very irregular, anywhere between 45 minutes and 90 minutes.”
Vinod Pawar, executive engineer of the water supply department, agreed that there was a problem in the supply system. He said. “For more than three months, there were continuous repair works by the agencies that supplied water. Because of this, there was regular shut down and water supply was irregular. We are following up the issue and will ensure that regular supply will resume soon. Moreover, we have given a reminder letter to the concerned water supply authority for additional water supply.”
He said that the issue of the dam was pending at the state level and the corporation could not do anything about it.
Water crisis not just in Thane (SUBHEAD)
The water crisis across Thane city was the talk of the TMC general body meeting earlier this week. The members alleged that while Thane was implementing major projects under smart city, the administration has ignored the basic issue of water supply. Apart from Ghodbunder Road, the water crisis was also felt in Kissannagar, Mumbra, Kalwa and Diva areas.
Pramila Keni, opposition leader of TMC, said, “The corporation has taken projects worth crore of Rupees under the smart city funds. However, the administration has not understood the meaning of smart city. In the times of the pandemic, people in Kalwa, Diva and Mumbra have no water. How are they going to maintain hygiene. In some parts of Diva and Mumbra, residents do not even have water for essential purposes.”
She claimed that while the corporation was insisting on sanitisation of the city, there was not enough water to maintain sanitisation.
Siraj Dongare, NCP corporator, added, “The water crisis is severe in Mumbra too. The corporation had given an affidavit to the High Court last year stating that the city had enough water supplies. However, the situation is completely different. The administration has also demanded additional water supply to Shahad-Temghar Water Supply Authority (STEM) and Bhatsa authority, the status of which was still unknown.”
The general body also claimed that several areas of Kopri, too, were reeling under water cuts. The corporators also claimed that both Diva and Lokmanya Nagar received less supply.
Sanjay Bhoir, Shiv Sena corporator, added, “The water supply department should ensure that the old buildings get enough water and then provide water to the new constructions.”
WATER CRISIS IN THANE
Following the acute water crisis in Thane in the summer of 2016, resident Mangesh Shellar had filed a PIL in the High Court blaming poor planning by the TMC and the haphazard way in which the civic body granted permission for new constructions along Ghodbunder Road. Following this PIL, the court had stalled permissions to any new constructions along Ghodbunder Road in 2016. The court has also asked the corporation to file an affidavit stating the water connections and occupation certificates given in the last five years. In the affidavit, the corporation stated that TMC has done water management to meet the population requirement till 2025.
480 mld: Water supply Thane gets per day
200 mld: TMC’s own water supply scheme (water source: Bhatsa Dam)
60 mld: Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (water source: Bhatsa and Tansa Dam)
110 mld: Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) (water source: Barvi Dam)
110 mld: Shahad-Temghar Water Supply Authority (STEM) (water source: Barvi Dam): 110 mld
WHERE DOES THE DISTRICT RECEIVE WATER FROM?
** The two major dams that provide water to Thane are the Barvi and Andra dams.
** There are seven to eight small dams that also provide water to the district.
** There are seven municipal corporations and three municipal councils in the district, apart from the rural belt, that depend on this meagre water stock.
WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE?
** Thane’s total water storing capacity needs to be increased from the current 3,000-4,000 mld to 7,000 mld, for which the proposed three dam projects in the district need to be implemented.
** The district had plans to construct three dams, Shai, Kalu and Poshir, all of which are stuck for different reasons.