Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) garden department will conduct a hearing on suggestions and objections regarding the removal of 189 trees affected by the reconstruction of the 136-year-old reservoir at Malabar Hill. The hearing will take place in the garden superintendent's office at Byculla zoo on Wednesday.
The project aims to increase the reservoir's capacity from 147.78 million litres to 191 million litres to enhance water supply to South Mumbai. However, even after awarding the contract last year, the BMC couldn't start work on the new tank due to the need to remove several trees for the project. To save time, the BMC initiated other required work at the site in the meantime.
BMC Awaiting Approval from Tree Authority
The BMC is awaiting approval from the Tree Authority to remove the trees affected by the project. Civic officials conducted a survey of the 389 trees at the site and proposed the removal of 189 trees while transplanting 200 others. As a result, suggestions and objections were invited from citizens on September 6. "The final date to submit suggestions and objections is Wednesday. On the same day, officials from the garden department will conduct a public hearing," said a senior civic official.
The construction of the new tank will commence only after the BMC obtains permission to remove the trees. The reservoir consists of seven different chambers for storing water. To ensure uninterrupted water supply, the water from each chamber will be transferred to the next chamber, after which the demolition and reconstruction work on the specific chamber will begin.
Mumbai's First Artificial Reservoir
The first artificial reservoir constructed to meet the water requirements of the island city is situated on a hillock just beneath the surface of the Hanging Gardens. It provides water to Nariman Point, Cuffe Parade, Churchgate, Colaba, Girgaon, Nepean Sea Road, and the entire Malabar Hill area.
After a structural audit of the reservoir in 2019, the BMC decided to undertake its reconstruction. The civic standing committee approved the proposal in February 2022. The project's cost is ₹698.50 crore, including taxes and surcharges. The work will be carried out in phases over the next seven years and is expected to be completed by the end of 2029.