After witnessing a slow start to the monsoon season, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is now planning ‘cloud seeding’ in catchment areas as an alternative source of water for the city. However, the Rs 18 crore plan for artificial rainfall seems too little too late, as the city is already in the midst of a water crisis, after a dry spell in June.
While the city has been witnessing a deluge, the water levels in catchment areas have only risen marginally. Pic/Suresh KK
Incidentally, the BMC had planned alternative water sources in 2009 as well, with a R48 crore budget to dig 4,000 wells and 6,000 borewells, after a similar water crisis that year. However, these alternate measures were never implemented.
Many corporators claim that had they started the work then, citizens would not have to face another water crisis. They also believe that the decision to start cloud seeding has come in too late, after receiving no rain last month, even when a shortage was earlier predicted by the weather department.
While the rain has arrived, the water level in catchment areas has only witnessed minimal increase. As of July 15, the water available in six of the seven lakes is reported to be 99,517 million litres. The seventh lake, Middle Vaitarna, has not received any rainfall yet.
Moreover, sources at the BMC claim that there have been issues with cloud seeding, as the areas where the exercise was carried out turned out to help rainfall in places other than the catchment areas.
Additional Municipal Commissioner, Rajiv Jalota, said, “We are in the process to draw new plans to provide the city with adequate water supply. We are planning cloud seeding and may carry it out if the rainfall received is not sufficient.”