The countdown has begun, and it’s not a pleasant one. Wading through knee-high water, Mumbaikars may find it hard to believe that the catchment areas are so dry that the lakes will be able to provide water to the city only for 23 days.

Also read: Heavy rains cripple life in Mumbai; waterlogging in many parts

Don’t be fooled by the waterlogged streets in Mumbai. The lakes that supply water to the city are getting no rain. Pic/Emmanual Karbhari
Don’t be fooled by the waterlogged streets in Mumbai. The lakes that supply water to the city are getting no rain. Pic/Emmanual Karbhari

If that’s an unbelievable pill to swallow, here’s a bitter one to go with it — the quantum of the water cuts, which is currently 20 per cent, is likely to be hiked soon.

Water, water everywhere: No, there really isn’t a drop to drink. That’s  probably what this Mumbaikar was contemplating below Andheri Metro  station yesterday. Pic/Nimesh Dave
Water, water everywhere: No, there really isn’t a drop to drink. That’s  probably what this Mumbaikar was contemplating below Andheri Metro  station yesterday. Pic/Nimesh Dave

BMC officials said yesterday that the amount of stock available in the seven lakes that supply water to the city stands at 87,184 million litres, which will be sufficient for just another 23 days. While Tulsi and Vihar, which are within the Greater Mumbai area, have been receiving good rainfall — nearly 74 mm yesterday itself —Modak Sagar, Upper Vaitarna, Tansa and Bhatsa are depleting rapidly. The newly constructed Middle Vaitarna lake has also as not proved beneficial for the city as the lake level has stood at 0 metres (which indicates there is no water stock or useful content in the lake) for a long time.

Moreover, Tulsi and Vihar, which have received more rainfall, are used to provide water to industrial areas as opposed to residential ones. All these factors combined have forced the BMC to consider increasing the quantum of water cuts.

“There is water scarcity in the city and it has not been raining that well in the catchment areas. The rainfall was better than earlier yesterday and we hope it continues the same way for another month or two. If that happens, there will be no water issues, but if it does not, we will have to impose more water cuts. We need to spread awareness on water conservation and we will start the campaign soon,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Rajeev Jalota.

Also read: BMC imposes 20 pc water cut on waterlogged Mumbai

Profiteering?
The water cuts and the public reaction to them made the opposition in the BMC demand that the cuts be extended to commercial users too. The civic administration, however, sees a hidden agenda in this as many corporators are involved with the water tanker lobby. Imposing water cuts on industrial units, BMC officials said, will give a significant boost to the tanker business.

Opposition leader and Congress Corporator Devendra Amberkar said, “The BMC never curtails water supply for commercial users and imposes cuts on common citizens alone. We demand water cuts for all commercial users in the city. The supply of water to swimming pools should also be stopped as that leads to wastage in times of scarcity. Just because the city gets water doesn’t mean we need to waste it.”

A BMC official, said, “Water cut for commercial users is not going to make a big difference as only 10% of water is supplied for commercial use and the rest is given to residents. We fear that the corporators may have a hidden agenda as some are involved with the water tanker lobby. We are yet to take a decision on the issue.”

87,184 million
Litres of water stock available in the seven lakes which supply water to the city

4,200 million
The approximate amount of litres of water that the city needs daily 

53mm: The amount of rainfall that was recorded by the IMD at Santacruz yesterday

Water level