Tomorrow is July 26, a date feared by every Mumbaikar as it brings back the dark memories of the floods that wreaked havoc in the city on July 26, 2005. With heavy to very heavy rainfall and high tides predicted by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) for the next 48 hours, the civic administration’s is leaving no stone unturned to make sure that nothing untoward happens during this period.
The high tide predicted is about 4.8 metres, if clubbed with 65 millimetres of rainfall, could lead to flooding. What can worsen the situation is the overflowing Vihar lake, which connects with the Mithi river. Excess water from Vihar could force Mithi to break bank, the way it happened in 2005.
Though the civic body had come up with BRIMSTOWAD (Brihanmumbai Stormwater Disposal System) project to check waterlogging and floods, eight years after its initiation and a cost escalation of over Rs 500 crore, the project is not even 50 per cent complete.
To ensure there is no loss of life in case the IMD’s prophecy of heavy rainfall comes true, the BMC has kept its disaster control and flood rescue teams, and lifeguards on high alert. The civic body has issued warnings and banned public presence at beaches during hide tides for the next two days.
M Narvekar, chief officer of BMC disaster control unit, said, “The disaster team is on alert 24x7 and will be quick to respond in case of a calamity, which we hope doesn’t happen. Several water pumps have been installed in low-lying areas and lifeguards have been stationed across the beaches. Due these precautionary measures, very little waterlogging was noticed in the past 24 hours despite the dow pour.”
Another officer said measures would be implemented to ensure that people feel safe and the BMC would coordinate with departments like traffic to avoid unwanted jams during a downpour.