In what is a depressingly familiar scenario, pre-monsoon, the BMC made all the usual noises about being prepared for the monsoon. Yet, just a few days into the monsoon, it has been proved that the roads in Mumbai continue to get impossibly waterlogged. The pumping stations at certain locations didn’t work. The nullahs that were claimed to be cleaned after spending crores of rupees, were clogged.
Despite the civic authority having enough time to prepare for the monsoon, and add to that the fact that the rains have been one month late, we see that there is the same disruption in normal life, thanks to the havoc caused by heavy rains.
Having said that, it is once again important to emphasise that the onus is not just on the BMC to ensure that the city remains manageable in the monsoon. Every individual has to do his or her best to manage trash and debris. Clogging drains with plastic, wrappers and other waste is just not done. It speaks of a mindset that prefers to do what is convenient for oneself, than do what is right for the rest of the city. If this is the way people think, then they have to pay the price during this season. And, struggling commuters, weary office-goers know that it is a heavy price to pay.
Water cuts have become imminent, every summer, and this year even during the monsoon, because of the rain delay, the BMC announced water cuts. While civic authorities cannot control the weather, it is evident that the few water reservoirs that provide water to Mumbai are now not enough for a burgeoning population. New avenues are rarely created and those created take decades to become functional.
The population of the city is on the rise, buildings are getting taller, but infrastructure isn’t growing at the same pace. Part of this infrastructure of course, besides obvious ones like transport and buildings is water supply. As we continue to expand, we need more avenues and methods to generate water supply. More catchment areas and more water conscious citizens. We are all in this together.