It’s almost here, the water cut that Mumbai has been anticipating with dread. The BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation is likely to announce a 10-15 per cent water cut next week. Stock in the seven lakes that supply potable water to Mumbai has dropped to 12.76 per cent, with levels dropping by 0.43 million litres each day. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has also predicted the late arrival of the monsoon. Officials of the hydraulic department will meet in the first week of June to decide about the water cut in Mumbai.
The BMC has also approached the state government and requested the release of reserve water stock, to tide over the situation till the arrival of the monsoon. Unfortunately, it seems the state government has not been taking the issue seriously. Sources said that engineers of the hydraulic department have been regularly doing the rounds of Mantralaya since May but clearly, water is yet to flow under this bridge.
The state government has water reserves in the Bhatsa and Upper Vaitarna lakes, for emergencies.
BMC approaches the state government
However, the BMC cannot dip into this stock without the permission of the state government. The BMC has already approached the state government and asked to at least allow the use of 150 million cubic metres (MCM) of water from both lakes.
According to sources, a letter was written to the water supply department in Mantralaya and later, sent to the Konkan division but no decision has yet been taken. Engineers of the civic hydraulic department continue to be occupied with this process.
Poor infrastructure with evaporation to blame for losses
The seven lakes - Upper Vaitarna, Middle Vaitarna, Tulsi, Modak Sagar, Tansa, Bhatsa and Vihar - supply water to Mumbai. These lakes have a total capacity of 14,47,363 million litres of water storage, which can be used throughout the year.
Mumbai has a requirement of 4,400 ML of water per day but in reality, the BMC only supplies 3,850 ML to Mumbai. Water leakage and water evaporation are some reasons for the decreasing water levels in the lakes.
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