While good news for Mumbai has been pouring in from all corners, with most lakes crossing their overflow marks, villages near lakes that supply water to the city have a different story to tell. Sources claim that about 40 villages that are situated near Bhatsa lake in Igtapuri have been getting mucky water for the past few weeks. Villagers are forced to use the contaminated water for both drinking and sanitation purposes.
Meghna Jadhav, a resident of Pise village said, “I got married and came to this village 14 years ago, since then I have seen this problem existing in the village. Children of the village fall ill very frequently due to consumption of this water but we are helpless.”
Villagers now resort to purification techniques such as use of chlorine to turn contaminated water into drinking water. People have also appealed to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) asking it to look into the issue.
“We cannot comment on the issue against the authority hence it’s a request that they should think about us and help us soon,” said Shobna Jadhav, a resident of Pise village.
The contaminated water has also led to the spread of diseases such as jaundice, typhoid, and malaria, targeting children.
While speaking to MiD DAY, Ramesh Bamble, chief hydraulic engineer said, “BMC is responsible for supplying water only to the city not beyond that. The Zilla Parishad is responsible for the contaminated water supply hence we cannot do anything about it.”
On the other hand, lake levels at Tulsi, Vihar, Tansa and Modak Sagar lakes have exceeded their overflow limits. When the reporter asked what plans the BMC has for all the water which is not utilised, Mayor Sunil Prabhu said, “We have been working on the Gargai and Pinjal projects after the success of which the city would receive water 24x7. Blaming the state government, he added, “We have been working on the issue of utilising the water for production of electricity but the state government seems to be interested in consulting some other private firm in this matter.”
The city requires 12.5-lakh mld (million litres per day) water per year and so far, 11 lakh million litres of water has already been collected. Upper Vaitarna and Bhatsa are the only lakes that are yet to fill up to their maximum levels, with just 8 feet to go for Bhatsa to reach its complete capacity.