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Byculla drinks dirtiest water

You may reside in one of Mumbai’s plushest localities, but that does not automatically entitle you to clean, safe drinking water.

mumbai Updated: Aug 29, 2011 01:18 IST
Bhavika Jain
Bhavika Jain
Hindustan Times

You may reside in one of Mumbai’s plushest localities, but that does not automatically entitle you to clean, safe drinking water. In fact, if you live in Nariman Point or Cuffe Parade, you are consuming water that has the third highest level of contamination in the city, as findings of the civic body’s Environment Status Report (ESR) for the year 2010-2011 have revealed.

According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) report — which is yet to be made public — 24.64% of the drinking water supplied to the city is unfit for consumption. Despite assurances from the state government and the BMC that the issue of water contamination would be addressed, this year’s figure is only two percentage points lower than that of last year, when the average contamination level was 26.1%.

The findings state that the presence of e-coli bacteria, traces of sewage water, mud pellets and suspended solid particles found in drinking water make it unfit for human consumption.

The contamination levels have increased in eight wards and ranges between 16.8% and 36.7%.

The highest level of contamination was found in E ward (Byculla and Mazagaon). Here, 36.68 % of the water, more than one-third of the water supplied to the ward, was found to be contaminated.

L ward (Kurla) has the second highest level of contamination at 32.94%. At 32.5%, A ward (Cuffe Parade, Nariman Point, Churchgate and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus) has the third highest contamination level in the city this year.

The lowest contamination level, 16.82%, was found in N ward (Ghatkopar and Vikhroli). The ESR report is based on water samples collected by the BMC, which were tested in its own laboratory.

The primary reason for water contamination is old and dilapidated pipelines. Last year, after Hindustan Times, highlighted the issue on August 6; the BMC and the state had taken measures to rectify the situation such as installing toxicity analysers, leak detection analysers and taking prompt action on complaints. A panel was also formed to draw up measures to improve water quality. However, none of the efforts have paid of yet.

Additional municipal commissioner Rajiv Jalota, said the BMC is undertaking projects to reduce water contamination and in the next six months, changes will be visible. “We have strengthened our drive to plug visible leak detection, however, the problem of lack of trained staff still persists,” he said.

Officials added that the work of replacing old pipelines and reconstructing old reservoirs has begun. In 2010-2011, the BMC identified and plugged 25,623 visible leakages, replaced more than 62 km of pipelines with tunnels, and changed the internal lining of 26km of distribution pipelines. A sum of Rs500 crore had been earmarked for this.

First Published: Aug 29, 2011 01:17 IST