Suburbs face acute water crisis; tankers costly
Citizens in pockets of Jogeshwari and Goregaon, in Mumbai’s western suburbs, are reeling under a severe water crisis. While some neighbourhoods have gone without water for a few days at a stretch, others who have had to resort to additional supply from water tankers are shelling up over ₹6000 for a 20,000-liter tanker
Mumbai: Citizens in pockets of Jogeshwari and Goregaon, in Mumbai’s western suburbs, are reeling under a severe water crisis. While some neighbourhoods have gone without water for a few days at a stretch, others who have had to resort to additional supply from water tankers are shelling up over ₹6000 for a 20,000-liter tanker. The condition in parts of Ghatkopar, Khar, Kandivali and Chandivali are similar, although not as dire.
On March 27, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had declared that parts of the city and the eastern suburbs would face a 15 per cent water cut for two days, as a pipeline was damaged during the box culvert work being carried out by Maharashtra State Road Corporation Limited (MSRDC) in Thane. A day after, it announced that the 15-kilometer water tunnel that brings water to the Bhandup Complex for supply to the city was damaged by a builder during an ongoing construction, which will cause the cut across Mumbai for a month.
However, citizens from many residential areas have complained about receiving water way below the mandated cut.
Facing severe crisis, residents of Bandrekarwadi, in Jogeshwari east, had to queue up for hours just to fill up a few buckets of drinking water, since the last two to three days. The civic body pointed to a water pipeline burst at the JVLR and its subsequent repairs leading to the problem in Goregaon and neighbouring Jogeshwari.
“A 1500mm-diameter pipeline burst in the JVLR area. BMC fixed the pipeline but it burst again the next day. Hence the areas serviced by this pipeline got affected,” said Manish Valanju, assistant municipal commissioner of K-East ward. A similarly damaged pipeline under repair has led to the crisis in Jogeshwari west, said assistant municipal commissioner of the K-West ward, Dr Prithviraj Chauhan.
An official from the Hydraulic Engineering Department explained: “A 15 per cent water cut in the city often translates to 80 per cent cuts in many homes. This occurs due to the low pressure during the water supply – the water does not reach till the end in certain areas and may require additional machinery to create adequate pressure.”
Meanwhile, a constant dependence on water tankers to fill the shortage is costing residents dear, given the exorbitant prices charged by them.
The tankers cater to not just residential buildings but also major infrastructure projects, such as under construction buildings and road works. The tankers association has affirmed that the demand has gone up substantially since the past few weeks. There are around 250-odd official water tanker suppliers with a fleet of 1800 tankers, which does not include the unregistered operators.
The carrying capacity of these tankers range from 10,000 litres to 25,000 litres that usually ferries hard water pumped from wells across the city. The official rate varies from ₹800 to ₹1000, depending on the distance of travel. Potable drinking water is more expensive.
“The number of calls for water tankers has gone up substantially. While earlier, we used to make four to six trips daily, today we do eight to 12 trips,” said Jasbir Singh Bira, president, Mumbai Water Tanker Association.