Wait for water

By Nidhi Jamwal
Published: Tuesday 31 March 2009

No new connections till 2011

PEOPLE, who have invested money in flats in new building projects in Mumbai, will have to wait. The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai has decided to give them water connections only after the city starts getting additional supply from Vaitarana River in Thane in 2011. There is worse news for people living in multi-storied buildings. They will get a little over two buckets of water each, a day, from now.

The decision was taken in the last week of February. "Mumbai is facing acute water shortage and we have decided all buildings approved after December 1, 2008, will not get municipal water connection," said Anil Diggikar, additional municipal commissioner for projects. He said developers will not get municipal water for construction activity which means the projects may get delayed.

Diggikar said supply will be curtailed to existing buildings that require more than 0.2 million litres a day. "The per person water availability will be brought down, from 90 litres a day they get now, to 45 litres," Diggikar said. The reduced water supply will affect thousands of flat owners in the city.

Sushma Bagadi, 60, who lives with her family of 10 in Andheri West, said she spends thousands of rupees every month to buy water now. "If the water supply gets halved, it will be very difficult to survive," she said.

The corporation officials said once the Middle Vaitarana Project (dam reservoir) becomes operational, the city would get additional 455 million litres of water a day (mld). Afsar H Jafri of Mumbai-based advocacy group Focus on the Global South said increasing the supply is not the solution. He said the municipality should pay attention to equitable distribution, water harvesting, water recycling and plugging leakages.

The civic body's hydraulic department is preparing a white paper on water supply in Mumbai that will be made public soon. The report is being prepared after corporators alleged mismanagement of water.

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