The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) Water Distribution Improvement Programme (WDIP), under which it plans to set up 24-hour water supply systems, has run into hurdles.
The WDIP was started in 2014 at a cost of about Rs 250 crore but little progress has been made so far.
In August last year, the civic body had started a pilot project in T-ward (Mulund) and H-west ward (Bandra, Khar Road) to set up 24-hour water supply systems under the WDIP. But the agency appointed by the civic body is facing difficulties and has demanded more water for the set-up in Bandra. But the BMC has refused to give any “extra” supply to the area.
A senior civic official, requesting anonymity, said, “The agency appointed for implementing the 24×7 water supply system is demanding about 60 million litres extra water daily. Currently, the H-west ward gets about 110 MLD (million litres daily) but the contractor says it needs about 170 MLD. We have said no as there is absolutely no chance of increasing the supply in this ward. It will create problems in other wards.”
“Also, when the contract was awarded, nowhere it was mentioned the agency would be given extra water to implement the 24-hour supply system. The agency will have to implement the project with available resources. The five-year contract will end in June. Most probably we won’t go ahead with the company as it has not been able to complete even 50 per cent of the project,” the official added.
The city is currently facing a 10 per cent water cut since November following depleting water stock in reservoirs. Because of this, the overall implementation of the 24-hour water supply system in the city has slowed down and a decision on continuing the WDIP will be taken after the new additional municipal commissioner of water department takes charge, another official said.
Senior Congress corporator Asif Zakaria said, “The WDIP project has failed and there is no 24-hour supply in Bandra. Officially, the BMC is not accepting that the project has failed. The extra demand for water by the contractor shows how the agency is struggling to implement the project. The agency was supposed to complete the project in five years but it has only managed to start the pilot project, that too is incomplete.”
“The BMC should give details of how much money has been spent on the project in the last five years,” he added.
Hydraulic Engineering department chief engineer A S Tawadia refused to comment on the WDIP project and said as of now it was focusing on providing enough water to people.