The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) plans to acquire all privately-owned wells in the city to tide over the 10 per cent water cut that was recently extended till July-end. There are approximately 784 private wells in the city and the BMC will solicit the Collectors assistance in acquiring them.
The civic body told its Standing Committee on Wednesday that a plan has already been put forward to repair and clean the 789 public wells that belong to BMC.
According to Additional Municipal Commissioner Mohan Adtani,the plan includes cleaning wells that are unused since 2009. Ward officers have been instructed to collect information on the state of wells in their jurisdiction along with records of their water levels.
According to Dr Shubha Raul,member of the Standing Committee and Shiv Sena corporator from R-North ward,privately-owned wells have been exploited for illegal sale of water.
The civic body has control of only half the wells. The private wells were built years ago for the benefit of the community. Daily,100 tankers move around the city with water from private wells and even travel outside the limits of Mumbai from Dahisar to Virar, alleged Raul.
Since these wells are deeper than four ft,they becomes the property of the Collector,she said.
Confirming this,Adtani said,Only the structure of the well is privately owned,not the water. He added that the civic body is also considering cloud-seeding in the cachment areas of lakes supplying water to the city.
At present,the rain received at Modak Sagar and Upper Vaitarna dams,which collectively account for 29 per cent of Mumbais water supply,has been 77 per cent and 65 per cent respectively of the average total rainfall received every year from 2003 to 2011.
Bhatsa Lake,which provides the city 59 per cent of its water,has so far received only 68 per cent of the total average rainfall received in the same period.
Adtani said the BMC will also take a slew of measures to raise public awareness on water conservation. We will use television,radio,and put up ads on BEST buses and railway stations to educate people. At present,civic school textbooks have a chapter on water conservation for students of every class. We will extend this to all private schools in the city as well, he said.
Standing Committee chairman and Shiv Sena corporator Rahul Shewale said Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte will prepare a plan to deal with the ongoing shortage within a week. He will take into consideration the suggestions discussed in the Standing Committee, he said.
The water cut has especially inconvenienced residents of old buildings who live on higher floors as the reduction in water pressure has led to a severe shortage.
The people are forced to come to the ground floor and collect water as it does not even reach the third floor, said Congress corporator and member of the Standing Committee,Pravin Chheda.
He suggested that buildings with direct connections for BMC watersupply be provided with a separate tank that can deliver water to the higher floors.
Taking cognisance of the issue,the corporation stated it will draw up remedial measures for this problem in its impending water plan.