With hardly 300 mm of rainfall in the catchment areas of dams that supply water to Navi Mumbai and adjoining areas, residents are facing an acute shortage of water. Residents of Taloja, Kharghar, and adjoining areas have been grappling with a severe water crisis for the last few months.
Now, a 15% water cut declared by the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) has added to their troubles.
NMMC imposed half-day cut to save water
It’s not only limited to CIDCO, other agencies too failed to supply adequate water in their jurisdiction. Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) imposed a half-day water cut in the end of April. Maharashtra Jal Pradhikaran (MJP), Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), and Panvel Municipal Corporation have also imposed water cuts in their jurisdiction. Water levels have depleted in most of the dams from where these agencies supply and there is no sign of immediate relief as hardly 300 mm rainfall was recorded in catchment areas of dams.
As per CIDCO, there is inadequate rainfall in the catchment areas of the dams and limited water available to supply. Currently, the water reserves in the dams are adequate to supply for only three months. In order to meet the demand in the months to come, CIDCO decided to impose a 15% water cut from June 28, 2023. Even Morbe dam in Khalapur of NMMC have water left for hardly 35.
Thirst Protest Rally
On Sunday, Taloja Colony Federation staged a massive protest titled "Thirst Protest Rally" or "Tahan Nishedh Dindi". More than 600 residents from Taloja phases 1 and 2 participated in the protest. They expressed their dissatisfaction with the inconsistent water supply.
According to residents, housing societies are spending more than ₹ 40,000-50,000 per month on the water they buy in tankers to meet their daily water needs. Now, small housing societies are unable to buy more water. “We are forced to buy water from private tankers, which is both unhealthy and unhygienic,” said Ahmed Patel, a resident of Taloja phase one. Despite CIDCO's promises, the residents are not receiving tanker water free of cost.
There is nothing new about the water crisis in Navi Mumbai, NatConnect Foundation director B N Kumar lamented. Yet the so-called urban planners have miserably failed to tap other sources for drinking water, Kumar, an old-time resident of Navi Mumbai said.
Wetlands destroyed, groundwater not reinforced
On the contrary, they are systematically destroying the wetlands and paying no attention to rainwater harvesting and reinforcing the groundwater tables. As the Supreme Court itself pointed out, protection of our wetlands is vital for water security, he said.
It is a matter of shame that the so-called planned city has to rely on water tankers, Kumar said. Many areas in Kharghar are forced to pay a hefty sum to tanker operators, he added.