Mumbai: The BMC has finally issued a tender for its ambitious desalination plant on a 12-hectare plot of land in Manori village, abutting the sea in the western suburbs.
The plant will be of a capacity of 200 MLD (million litres per day) that can be expanded to 400 MLD at a later stage. The project is expected to be completed in the next four years. The estimated cost of the project (for 200 MLD) is ₹3,520 crores including 20 years of operation and maintenance cost.
Companies can bid till January 4, 2024, until 4 pm
At present, the BMC supplies 3,900 MLD of water to the city. However, the city's reliance on its seven lakes for potable water causes anxiety every year during the monsoon. So, to augment water supply, the BMC revived the ambitious project of a desalination plant. The BMC hired a consultant, M/s SMEC India, to evaluate the study and designs submitted by the Israeli company in January 2022. The consultant has approved the study and design submitted by the company. However, after nearly two years, the BMC has invited the tender for the plant on Monday. The interested companies can bid till January 4, 2024, until 4 pm.
"Since the plant is the first-of-its-kind, we have to face several challenges to make it into reality. The plant will be solar-powered, but it still has several challenges. Effluents in the form of hypersaline wastewater or brine are often discharged into the sea without treatment, which can have adverse effects on marine biology. The brine will have to be disposed of into the sea through a diffuser process and norms prescribed by the state pollution control board. So, after working on every single aspect, we have now invited a tender," said an official of the Water Supply Project Department.
The installation cost for the plant is around ₹1,600 crore and ₹1,900 crore for the maintenance of the plant for 20 years. The project was first mooted in 2007 after a state government-appointed high-level committee suggested setting up desalination plants in Mumbai. The BMC initiated the process to set up two such plants, one in south Mumbai and another in the western suburbs, in 2016. However, the proposal was cancelled due to high costs and land issues. It was revived in October 2020 when former Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray showed interest in the project. However, after a change of guard, the project was put on the backburner for sometime.