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Mumbai: BMC appoints consultant to study designs for desalination plant

The BMC had floated tenders in the month of November last year to appoint consultants. The Mumbai civic body has appointed M/s SMEC India for the task of studying and evaluating the designs of the Israeli company for the desalination plant that will come up in Manori.

Dipti Singh | Updated on: Sunday, January 16, 2022, 11:10 PM IST

Mumbai: BMC appoints consultant to study designs for desalination plant | Representational Image
Mumbai: BMC appoints consultant to study designs for desalination plant | Representational Image
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The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) takes another step ahead towards setting up the city’s first desalination plant, which will convert potable water out of seawater. The Mumbai civic body has appointed a consultant to study and evaluate the designs and details that were submitted by IDE Water Technologies Ltd (an Israeli company) which has shown interest in developing a desalination project for BMC.
The project is estimated to cost Rs 1,600 crores, and maintenance for the next 20 years will cost another Rs 1,920 crores.

The BMC had floated tenders in the month of November last year to appoint consultants. The Mumbai civic body has appointed M/s SMEC India for the task of studying and evaluating the designs of the Israeli company for the desalination plant that will come up in Manori. The appointment was approved by the standing committee too.
The consultants will be responsible for evaluating everything from the concept drawings, designs, tender documents, as well as construction supervision of the project.

However, civic officials have confirmed that the tender for the construction of the plant is expected to be floated around June 2022. "Construction should start next year and the plant is expected to be functional in the next 4 years if everything goes according to plans."

“We have already floated tenders for appointing a consultant who will evaluate and analyse the designs prepared for the desalination plant for us. After reviving the project in 2020, in June 2021, we had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with an Israeli technology firm whose work is to prepare a detailed project report and design of the plant. The plant will have a capacity of processing 200 million litres per day (MLD). The work on the project is estimated to begin by next year." said a BMC official.

The desalination plant project was first mooted in 2007 after a state government-appointed high-level committee had suggested setting up desalination plants in Mumbai. The proposal was tabled with an aim to develop an alternative water source owing to poor rainfall in the catchment areas of the dams that supply water to Mumbai. Later in 2016 BMC had initiated the process to set up two desalination plants – one in south Mumbai and another either in the western suburbs. Each of the two plants was supposed to have a capacity of processing 100 MLD of seawater into potable water. The same year, BMC cancelled the proposal to set up the desalination plant citing high cost and land issues.
Finally, after Environment minister Aaditya Thackeray showed interest in the project and the BMC decided to revive the project again in October 2020.

Currently, Mumbai draws water from Bhatsa, middle Vaitarna, Upper Vaitarna, Tansa and Modak Sagar, which are in Thane and Nashik districts. Tulsi and Vihar are the only two lakes located within the city limits. The seven lakes are classified into two systems, the Vaitarna system (consisting of upper Vaitarna, Middle Vaitarna, Tansa and Modak Sagar) which supplies water to the western suburbs and the island city, and the Bhatsa system (consisting of Bhatsa, Vihar and Tulsi lake) which supplies to the eastern suburbs.

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Published on: Monday, January 17, 2022, 06:00 AM IST