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Mumbai civic body to review lake levels to decide on cuts

As the city only has drinking water for around the next 50 days, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said that it will take stock of the lake levels in the next two weeks to ascertain if there will be a need for water cuts
By Mehul R Thakkar
PUBLISHED ON JUN 18, 2021 12:46 AM IST

As the city only has drinking water for around the next 50 days, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said that it will take stock of the lake levels in the next two weeks to ascertain if there will be a need for water cuts. However, a water cut is not on the cards yet, civic officials said.

According to BMC data, the water level is only 12.57% in the seven lakes supplying drinking water to the city as on Thursday morning, which is a decline from last week’s 12.84% owing to absence of rainfall at catchment areas.

A BMC official from the hydraulics department said, “ On June 30, we will hold a review meeting wherein the lake level stock will be considered for deciding whether any water cut needs to be announced or not. Though the catchment areas have not got much rainfall yet, the forecast is good. Hence, we are expecting that in the next two weeks before the review meeting, there will be good rainfall in the catchment areas.”

For nearly 10 days, it has been raining heavily in Mumbai and the neighbouring areas, but the catchment areas of the lakes supplying water to the city have not received substantial rainfall. As such, the available water stock has not increased yet.

Of the seven lakes, five are situated in Mumbai as well as neighbouring Thane and Palghar districts. Only Tulsi and Vihar lakes – located inside the city – are half-filled at 52%, but the remaining five lakes are yet to get substantial rainfall for water levels to increase.

Bhatsa, which supplies 55% of the total annual water requirement, has water level at 10%. Modak Sagar has 34% water, followed by Tansa and Middle Vaitarna lakes at 14% and 11%, respectively. Upper Vaitarna has no water left as on Thursday. Last year around this period too, there was no water in Upper Vaitarna dam.

The lakes are bifurcated into two systems: the Vaitarna system supplies water to the western suburbs and the island city, while the Bhatsa system provides water to the eastern suburbs. The civic body supplies 3,850 million litres of water daily against the city’s demand of 4,200 million litres.

The city had experienced 20% water cut last year in August amid the Covid-19 outbreak, owing to low levels of water in the lakes. Last year, BMC chief Iqbal Singh Chahal had also prepared a backup plan to bring water to Mumbai from Bhandardara dam in Ahmednagar, if required. However, later the water cut was rolled back owing to good rainfall. No water cut was imposed in 2019, owing to good rainfall in catchment areas, but in 2018, BMC had imposed 10% water cut, while in 2016 and 2014, the city faced 20% and 25% cut water cut.

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