Mumbai fire brigade seeks new spots as water runs out in British-era hydrants
Since the British era, there were 10,843 fire hydrants set up across the city and 66 underground water tanks, but they all are defunctmumbai Updated: Dec 06, 2017 23:56 IST
The city’s fire brigade has asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) hydraulics department to identify new water filling spots across Mumbai, to refill its water tankers during an emergency. This despite there being 10,843 fire hydrants and 53 underground water tanks in Mumbai.
Unfortunately, decades of negligence and lack of upkeep has rendered these hydrants and tanks unusable.
Since the British era, there were 10,843 fire hydrants set up across the city and 66 underground water tanks.
In 2016, the BMC identified 53 of the underground tanks, which were handed over to the fire brigade.
But these cannot be accessed by a water tanker. P Rahangdale, chief fire officer said, “There is no policy at present for these tanks.” One of these tanks, that are 70-80 years old, was accidentally discovered in the A ward by nominated ex-corporator from Shiv Sena, Avkash Jadhav, following which the BMC began to trace the others. While an old record indicated there are 66 such tanks, BMC managed to locate only 53, but even these are surrounded by encroachments.
Similarly, in 2015, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis assured legislators the BMC will begin work on restoring water hydrants in the city, a cause the civic body had long given up on. However, after several attempts at reviving this old infrastructure, the fire brigade wants a reliable solution to refill water.
RA Choudhari, deputy chief fire officer of the Mumbai fire brigade said, “We cannot rely on these underground tanks or the defunct water hydrants. We noticed there are insufficient refilling spots in Mumbai when tankers run out of water during a fire fighting operation. A water tanker cannot be expected to travel 10km for a refill.” The fire brigade has asked for 50 water refilling spots in Dadar, Bandra, Mahim, Mulund, Ghatkopar and Goregaon, among other areas. Presently, there are 18 spots already available
Ideally, the water hydrants placed at regular intervals of 150 metres have been designated as refilling spots, but more than 85% of them are defunct due to encroachments, damage and lack of maintenance. Many of them are buried under the roads or footpaths after the civic body kept adding layers of bitumen or asphalt on roads and tiles on pavements.
These cannot be revived anymore, as they need a 24-hour water supply with sufficient pressure. These are connected to the main BMC line that has water only during the designated water supply hours of the respective ward.