Wet spell washes out cloud seeding

Sep 04, 2012, 07:27 IST | Sujit Mahamulkar

Continuous rain over catchment areas has increased the water stock to 10.36 lakh million litres against the requirement of 12 lakh million litres; BMC hopeful shortfall will be met

With the city witnessing heavy to moderate rainfall in the past few days, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has now decided to drop their cloud seeding plans for this year. Moreover, with the third lake — Tansa — breaching its overflow level yesterday, the civic body is optimistic that the stock of water in all lakes will suffice till next monsoons. The civic body had announced that it would experiment with cloud seeding that was estimated to cost Rs 12 crore, which then was later escalated to Rs 20 crore.

Water flow: Tansa, one of the seven lakes that supply water to the city, has started overflowing yesterday

Of the seven lakes that supply water to the city, Modak Sagar and Middle Vaitarna already crossed their overflow levels last month. Tansa is the third lake to overflow this monsoon, while Tulsi is near the level of overflow mark. Tulsi is just about one-and-half metres while Upper Vaitarna is about 3 metres below the overflow mark.

The six lakes Modak Sagar (Vaitarna), Tansa, Vihar, Tulsi, Upper Vaitarna, Middle Vaitarna and Bhatsa supply 3,400 million litres against a requirement of 4,200 million litres per day (MLD). With the civic body needing 12 lakh million litres of water to last till the next monsoon, the current water stock has reached 10.36 lakh million litres mark.

“We have good enough water stock now. Hence, there is no need to experiment with cloud seeding this year. But, we will hold onto the data regarding the cloud study, so that we can use it if needed,” said Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte. “Although all the lakes have good water levels, the civic body will still implement efforts to conserve water,” he added.

Congress and Nationalist Congress Party were opposed to the move of cloud seeding, as the BMC, in 2009, had experimented with cloud seeding, but the experiment had failed. In 2009, when the city had a testing time after rains played truant, lake levels had dipped to a record low.

The total water stock was 8.21 lakh million litres in hand this day that year. Meanwhile, the 10 per cent water cut that has been imposed in the city will stay till September 15, said BMC sources.  

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