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Mumbai’s civic body fails to implement its 24x7 water supply project

This year, Mumbai received about 8% fewer rain compared to last year, which was also 9% less than the requirement to touch the 100% mark

mumbai Updated: Oct 09, 2018 00:06 IST
Steffy Thevar
Steffy Thevar
Hindustan Times
Mumbai water supply,BMC,Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation
Photo used for representational purposes only.

Dip in rainfall this year and poor planning have hit the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s pet project, 24x7 water supply, with residents and local representatives demanding it be scrapped.

Although named 24x7, the project only aimed to increase the duration for which water is supplied across the city. The ground work for the project started in 2014, with an initial estimated cost of ₹300 crore and 2019 deadline. It also found a mention in the Shiv Sena’s 2017 manifesto. Four years on, the civic body could only manage to start pilot projects in H-West (Bandra, Khar and Santacruz) from September 7 and T-ward (Mulund) from September 18, using new flow meters and pressure regulating valves.

This year, Mumbai received about 8% fewer rain compared to last year, which was also 9% less than the requirement to touch the 100% mark.

Ashok Tawadiya, chief engineer, hydraulic department, BMC, said, “The new system is meant to increase the hours of water supply, which means if earlier the water supply was three hours, it will go up to five hours. However, the rainfall was much below our expectation. We are yet to take a call on increasing the duration. The additional water supply was given only during the monsoon. We will now go back to the earlier schedule. We have not got any complaints from these two wards. We will still look forward to any suggestions from local representatives.”

While the success of the project is expected to lead to its implementation across the city, local representatives have already termed it a failure, demanding the old system be brought back.

Local councillor Asif Zakaria (Congress) from Bandra said the project has led to disparity, instead of equitable water distribution. “After spending crores, BMC is still supplying water to gaothans and elevated areas through tankers. Almost every other day, we can see tankers being sent. In such a situation, the locals are demanding the old system be brought back. We have got several complaints from locals who say the new system has reduced the pressure, even if the BMC claims the water supply is for longer hours. I have been sending these complaints to BMC engineers on a regular basis. Elevated areas such as Mount Mary and gaothans like Pimpleshwar Wadi get less water compared to other areas.”

Local activist Zoru Bhatena said, “The project is simply a publicity stunt. Till date no area in H-West ward has received around-the-clock water supply.”

A senior official said, “We can’t compare the water supply given to low-lying areas to that of elevated areas. Gravity plays a major role which cannot be controlled manually.”

T-ward’s local councillor Prabhakar Shinde (Shiv Sena) said, “There is low pressure in a few places in my ward like in Mhada buildings or near the highway in Sarvodaya in Mulund West. There are also technical problems in the valves fixed under the bridge on the highway. I’ve spoken to the engineer regarding this and they are working on it. This pilot project is on an experimental basis and so all faults will be corrected, after which it can be implemented across the city.”

First Published: Oct 09, 2018 00:06 IST