Every monsoon, silt accumulates at the bottom of the dam reducing its storage capacity. Malvadkar is also seeking support from his fellow party men, including Nanda Lonkar and Vikas Dangat.
“I wanted to involve the PMC in the ongoing desilting work of Khadakwasla dam which is possible by applying a new technology. The PMC can take financial aid from the state as well as the central government.
The cost can be finalised after consulting dam experts,” Malvadkar said. “If the storage capacity increases, then the PMC can plan storing water 24 months instead of just 12. At present, the civic body can’t construct another dam for the city as there is no land available.”
Activists from the Green Thumb Environmental Group and the Parivartan, who have been desilting the dam for the last three, welcomed Malvadkar’s initiative.
“We received JCB Machines and dumpers from the PMC for a period of 15 days. Similar help has been sough from the Southern Command and other government organisations in the city. We can use the soil for planting trees in the region,” Chief Trustee of Green Thumb Environmental Group Suresh Patil said.
Patil said by removing 50,000 cubic meter soil, the dam’s storage capacity could be enhanced by another 5 crore litters.
Chief Trustee of Parivartan Abhijeet Ghule too expressed his happiness over Malvadkar’s stand and said the soil could be used as fertilizer for farmers to promote organic farming.
“It is true that the storage capacity of the dam has decreased down due accumulation of silt and its needs clearing. At present, the dam can hold 1.97 TMC of. But the city might need more water in future with the growing population,” Executive Engineer of Khadakwasla Dam Shivaji Bolbhat said.
Vijay Paranjpe, a dam expert, appreciated the desilting work undertaken by the NGOs. “Removing silt from the bottom of the dam will be more practicable than from its sides. It will be feasible to do so in summer as the water level is low. Desilting the dam will enhance its storage capacity up to 3 TMC,” Pranjpe said.
>> Khadakwasla Dam was constructed in 1879.
>> It was rebuild in 1962 following the Panshet flood in 1961
>> Current water storage capacity of the dam 1.97 TMC
>> The irrigation department releases water from the dam into Mutha right bank canal, which is later supplied to the city