BMC rethinks Pinjal dam project, to focus on recycling water
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is rethinking its proposal to construct Pinjal dam in Palghar district to meet the water supply demand of the city. Instead, the civic body seems to be focusing on recycling of used water to reduce the pressure on fresh water sources.
The Pinjal dam, which has been on BMC’s drawing board for years, did not find a mention in the budget tabled last week, even as ₹402 crore was allocated for recycling of water for non-potable purposes.
HT had previously reported that if constructed, Pinjal dam would have submerged 1,130.82 hectares or 11 sq kms of forests — more than three times the area of Bandra Kurla Complex. Conservationists had cautioned that the dam’s construction would come at an environmental cost.
BMC has, meanwhile, allocated around ₹503 crore for the Gargai dam project.
Civic chief Praveen Pardeshi had last week said BMC wants to concentrate on construction of Gargai dam and see its success, before taking up another project. He had pointed out that as a back-up option to meet the demand for water, BMC was pushing for recycling and reusing of water for non-potable purposes, and that a decision on Pinjal dam would be taken later.
“There are a lot of environmental clearances required for Pinjal dam, and the construction will also require agreement with project-affected people. If the project is found to be viable after considering all these factors, a decision will be taken at a later stage owing to the costs involved,” said a BMC official.
The civic body currently supplies approximately 3,800 million litres of water a day (MLD) to Mumbai and it expects the demand to increase to 5,940 MLD by 2041.
For this, the state had planned two dams — Gargai and Pinjal. According to BMC, Pinjal dam was expected to supply 865 MLD.
However, now, instead of another dam, BMC plans to give a boost to recycling of water. BMC, in its budget, had stated, “Reuse of recycled waste water and harvesting of rain water shall be mandated for the purpose of toilet flushing and other non-potable building activities. This would reduce the load on water supply. The long-term vision for BMC is to reduce the demand for fresh water by using harvested rain water and treated sewage water.”
BMC hiked its overall budgetary allocation for water supply projects for 2020-21 by 69% to ₹1,728 crore, from ₹1,023 crore in 2019-2020.