Mumbai: Considering that urbanisation cannot be reversed, and concretisation cannot be stopped, BMC's G (south) ward (Elphinstone, Parel, and Matunga) has taken up with a pilot project to retain and replenish the ground water level. In an effort towards making water soak in naturally into the ground, the civic body will put up porous concrete blocks around tree guards on all the footpaths in areas across the ward.
"The porous concrete as against the conventional cement will not only help water seep in and replenish the ground water level, but will also allow water to water the trees planted on the footpath, as part of the beautification," said a senior BMC official.
BMC commissioner Praveen Pardeshi had last year voiced concerns over the depletion of ground water levels in the city. He pointed out that only 20 per cent rain water percolates in Mumbai and 80 percent runs off into the sea.
The official added, "The city is developing rapidly, with major big ticket projects coming up. We cannot stop concretisation, as that would mean opposing development. In the coming days, we need to adopt steps that are environment friendly and better measures towards water conservation. Adopting the concept of porous concrete is one such step towards water conservation."
According to measurements by the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) the average depth of groundwater in Thane is 54.13 feet, in Suburban Mumbai 35.17 feet and in island city 16.73 feet.
The Energy and Resources Institute (Teri) in 2017 warned that if ground water is over extracted in Mumbai, then because of the pressure imbalance, saline water from the sea will percolate into the sub soil from the coast and contaminate the water table.
Teri, in its study, stated that Mumbai regions water table had gone down in the last two decades, exposing poor measures adopted for water conservation. It revealed last year that of the 44 ground water monitoring points in the region, 19 showed decreasing levels and around 10 could not be accessed.
Ground water per person in India (Projection by Central Ground Water Authority)
(in litres per day)
1951 - 14,180
1991 - 6,030
2001 - 5,120
2025 - 3,670
2050 - 3,120