BMC in hot water as new leaks spring across Mumbai
For the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) hydraulic department, Santacruz and CST Road near Mumbai University must be blind spots. How else would it miss the colossal waste of water due to leaks in pipelines in these localities every day?
Water leaking from pipelines near the Vakola flyover in Santacruz (left) and CST Road near Mumbai University
For at least a week now, a 12-inch pipeline on the service road beside the Vakola flyover in Santacruz has been damaged. No civic worker has turned up to plug the leak.
As soon as the supply of water opens around 5.30 am every day, water gushes onto the road and stagnates over 50-60 m from the spot.
Saqlain Khan, the owner of a medical shop right next to the spot, says the leakage is a recurring problem. “A couple of months ago, the leak was so big that the water level rose high enough to flow across the divider and onto the highway. The pipeline was repaired some time ago, but it has sprung new leaks. Two-wheeler riders and pedestrians have a tough time navigating the service road.”
Khan says BMC officials had recently met locals to enquire about the leakage, but no repair was undertaken.
While the locals in Santacruz have no inkling of what’s causing the recurring leaks in their area, residents near Mumbai University blame a private mobile operator for damaging their pipeline on CST Road while digging a trench four to five days ago. Work on laying the utility cables is over, but the leak is far from being plugged. The leaking pipeline drains its water into a neighbouring nullah.
Ashok Divate, a security guard of a nearby building, says water floods the nullah each morning as soon as the supply to the pipeline begins. “That is hundreds of litres of drinking water going to waste.”
Cromton Sequeira, a resident who has drawn the attention of the BMC to several leakages in the past, says on Tuesday itself, he pointed out at least 17 such spots to civic officials. “It is not just this spot that has a damaged pipeline. The BMC has a designated officer to check leakages and repair pipelines. I took him to all these spots and have shown him the leakages. Some of the pipelines have been damaged for at least a week. Precious water is being wasted.”
Officials from the hydraulic department were not available for comment.
A 15% water cut has been enforced in the city since August last year. The crisis has only worsened with the onset of summer. Every part of the city is feeling the pinch — Kalyan and Dombivli get water only once in three days, forcing many people to buy water from tankers.
Old, decrepit pipelines, mindless digging of roads and vandalism by miscreants have led to loss of huge quantities of water in the city in the past.