In 21 days, lake levels at 60%; water cut in Mumbai may be reviewedUpdated: Aug 14, 2020, 01:35 IST
Good rainfall in catchment areas over the past 21 days has led to a sharp rise in the water levels of the seven lakes that supply drinking water to the city. From around 4 lakh million litres (30% of full capacity) on July 24, the water level on Thursday was at 8 lakh million litres (60%). However, there is still a shortfall of 6 lakh million litres of water for the lakes to reach full capacity.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is monitoring the situation on a daily basis and any decision to roll back or relax water cuts could be reviewed next month, depending on the rainfall over the next 20 days. BMC imposed 20% water cuts in the city on August 5. While there were no water cuts in 2019, owing to good rainfall in catchment areas, BMC had imposed a 10% water cut in 2018, a 20% cut in 2016 and a 25% cut in 2014.
An official from BMC’s hydraulics department said, “If there is sufficient rainfall and the lakes are full, we can review the situation of water cuts. Normally, the situation is reviewed in the first week of October, but this year due to shortfall, the situation is being constantly monitored.”
Generally, 15% of monsoon rainfall is expected in June, 35% in July and August, followed by 15% in September. The city has seen more rainfall than its monthly average in June and July.
According to BMC’s data, the seven lakes at present have 8.70 lakh million litres of water, which is 60.17% of their full capacity of 14.47 lakh million litres. On Sunday, the water levels were at 7.31 lakh million litres (50.53%). The overall lake level in 2019, in the corresponding period, was 92.38 % and it was 88.26% in 2018. Bhatsa dam, which caters to 55% of the city’s total water requirement, is at 60.75 % of its total capacity, compared to 89.78 % at this time in 2019. Out of the total seven lakes, Tulsi and Vehar, located within Mumbai’s limits, have overflowed.
The seven lakes are bifurcated into two systems, the Vaitarna system supplies to the western suburbs and the island city, and the Bhatsa system supplies to the eastern suburbs. The lakes are situated in Mumbai as well as neighbouring Thane and Palghar districts.
The civic body supplies 3,750 million litres of water daily against the city’s demand for 4,200 million litres. Further, BMC chief Iqbal Singh Chahal has plans to bring water to Mumbai from Bhandardara dam in Ahmednagar, if required. However, BMC officials said a final decision on this may be taken next month.