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Third lake goes under, Mumbai staring at 20% water cut

With Vihar lake touching its lowest drawable level and the rain gods remaining intransigent, the BMC is planning to impose 20% water cuts on the city

July, it seems, will bring both glad and sad tidings for Mumbaikars. While the Met department has predicted that it will rain by the end of this week, the water situation in the city is precarious.

With the monsoon feeling more like summer, Mumbaikars are praying for rain to put an end to the heat and water woes. Representation pic
With the monsoon feeling more like summer, Mumbaikars are praying for rain to put an end to the heat and water woes. Representation pic

Out of the seven lakes that supply water to Mumbai, two were below their lowest drawable levels last week itself (‘Prepare for 10% water cuts if it doesn’t rain for another week’, June 25) and a third has gone below its mark a couple of days back. BMC officials say they are planning to impose 20% water cut and, if that isn’t done soon, they may have to hike the figure to 25.

Of the seven Modak Sagar, Tansa, Vihar, Tulsi, Upper Vaitarna, Bhatsa and Middle Vaitarna Middle and Upper Vaitarna were below their lowest drawable levels last week, and Vihar has joined them (see box). A study of the other four lakes reveals that even they are close to their lowest drawable levels.

“There has been little or no rain in the catchment areas and that has affected the water stock. We will have to impose a 20% water cut and if that gets delayed, we will have to go even higher to 25 per cent,” said a civic official, on condition of anonymity.

The BMC’s 20% water cut proposal will be tabled in a meeting, which will also have the leaders of all political party leaders in attendance. Its approval, if at all it comes, would take another 2-3 days. Meanwhile, besides praying that the rain gods smile on the city and the catchment areas, the BMC is also looking at cloud seeding as an option. The civic administration has already invited tenders of expression of interest, and the entire process will take at least a month.

Low pressure
Hilly areas of the city are also facing the problem of the water pressure being low. “There are some areas in my ward in Andheri near Amboli, where a few pockets are on the hills, where the low pressure of water is posing a problem,” said Corporator Devendra Amberkar, opposition leader in the BMC. The civic administration is holding marathon meetings to sort out this issue.

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