Navi Mumbai: While Digha in Airoli and the adjoining areas in Navi Mumbai face water shortage, a British-era dam built by the railways in Ilthanpada in Digha ward with a capacity of 13.56 crore litres is lying idle. The water from the dam has not been withdrawn as it still belongs to the railways and the civic body does not have the ownership. The 18-acre facility was built in 1912 for steam engines and railway stations.
A demand was made in the past to transfer the dam to the municipal corporation for water supply but no concrete decision has been taken on it yet.
Navi Mumbai: Amid water shortage 100-yr-old Digha dam lying idle | FPJ
Water scarcity issues
Although the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) has its own Morbe dam in Khalapur in Raigad, it faces water scarcity during summer. Apart from Digha in the NMMC area, there are many places in Thane, adjoining the dam, that face similar water scarcity.
Pointing out that the dam’s transfer is stuck in red tape, social activist Pradeep Sawardekar has now requested Chief Minister Eknath Shinde to allow its use for potable supply to the satellite city. He said, “Due to its natural water source, the dam does not dry up even in May. It has not been used at all since India became independent. There is a lot of controversy over the distribution of water in it. As soon as the monsoon starts, the dam is the first in the state to fill up and overflow.”
As part of the monsoon preparedness, in the second week of April 2023, NMMC chief Rajesh Narvekar inspected the dam to ensure there is no obstruction in the drain for excess water from the dam to overflow into the western bay during monsoon. He also instructed officials to take necessary measures to prevent any issues when it rains.
Narvekar also explored whether any work can be done jointly with the forest department, the railways and NMMC to develop the dam area as a tourist spot.
Location Ilthanpada in Digha ward
Area 18 acres
Capacity 13.56 crore litres
Its water has never been withdrawn
Owner: Indian Railways
Built in 1912 for steam engines and railway stations
Water drains away easily during monsoon into western bay
Can become a tourist spot
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