Mumbai: Drinking water used to water Dadar garden

Updated: 26 November, 2015 09:42 IST | Tanvi Deshpande |

The civic body’s Sewerage Operations department said the sprawling Pramod Mahajan garden’s daily requirement of 1.5 lakh litres is partially met by drinking water

Has the BMC been using precious drinking water at the Pramod Mahajan garden even as the whole city is suffering on account of water cuts? This, at least is what the civic body’s own Sewerage Operations (SO) department believes — the same department that built the sprawling garden, which requires 1.5 lakh litres of water every day.

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A gardener waters plants at the Pramod Mahajan garden, which requires about 1.5 lakh litres of water each day. Pic/Onkar Devlekar
A gardener waters plants at the Pramod Mahajan garden, which requires about 1.5 lakh litres of water each day. Pic/Onkar Devlekar

This means at least a few thousand litres of drinking water are possibly being used for gardening purposes each day. However, the Gardens and Hydraulic Engineering departments — the first maintains the garden and the other supplies water to the city — insist that the Dadar garden’s only source of water is harvested rainwater.

The matter came to light on Monday, when the SO department floated a proposal for the construction of a sewage treatment plant in the premises of the Dadar pumping station, so the treated water could then be used for the adjoining Pramod Mahajan garden. The proposal reads: ‘The garden requires around 1.5 lakh litres of water every day.

Currently, its needs are met through the BMC’s water supply. In order to save this drinking water used for gardening, an STP has been proposed wherein treated sewage water will be used for the garden.’ According to the proposal, the project will cost Rs 66 lakh and will treat 300 cubic metres of sewage water daily, which will then be provided to the adjoining garden.

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The plan will be discussed in the standing committee meeting on Thursday. If the SO department’s proposal is to be believed, thousands, or even lakhs, of litres of drinking water might have been used for the garden since it was created in September 2014.

When mid-day visited the garden, a local gardener agreed that the plants are watered with drinking water, but some of the watchmen said that this wasn’t true. Vipinkumar Pandey, chief engineer from the SO department, who presented the proposal said, “The garden is partially watered with rainwater but some of it is drinking water as well. We want to reduce that dependency on drinking water.”

The local official from the Hydraulic Engineering department said they do not even supply water to the garden. According to Sachin Varise, assistant superintendent of gardens, the 14-acre garden uses water from four large ponds within the compound, where rainwater is harvested.

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“These tanks have enough water to supply to the garden. The accumulated water is pumped to the pump room with the help of motors, from where a centralized network of pipes supplies water to the garden. It runs entirely on rainwater harvesting and not drinking water,” said Varise, adding that the garden is watered once for four to five hours every day.

Varise could not provide information about the capacity of the ponds or tanks, but an official from the ward office said the total capacity of the four tanks is about 4 lakh litres, which would mean they hold barely three days’ worth of water for the garden, let alone a year-round supply.

Besides, why would the civic body consider building an STP to provide water to the garden if it is self-sufficient? Varise admitted that with the meagre monsoon this year, the garden might fall short on water. “The treatment plant will help us fulfill our future needs,” he said.

Citizen speak

Sai Barve, Dadar resident
If the BMC is supplying drinking water to the garden, that is not right. We are already facing water shortage.

Sharmila Joshi, Dadar resident
I thought the rules did not allow such a waste of water. Isn’t there a rule that drinking water should not be used for any other purpose?

Past controversy
On April 22, mid-day had reported that the Pramod Mahajan garden had not been inaugurated despite the fact that it had been completed seven months before (‘10-acre garden in the heart of the city is ready, but you can’t go there’). Soon after the report, the park was inaugurated by the CM.

First Published: 26 November, 2015 07:07 IST

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