Although Mumbaikars have been receiving relatively safer water over the past couple of years, with the onset of the monsoons, a sharp spike in the water contamination level is expected.
According to a BMC report, the contamination level has dipped from 14.02 per cent in April 2013 to 2.23 percent in February this year. The officials attribute the trend to the regular maintenance and replacement of old, decrepit, leaky pipelines running along side sewer lines, mainly responsible for pollution.
But if past data is any indication, the water contamination level usually jumps manifold during the monsoon. The monsoon also witnesses a surge of E Coli bacteria, associated with water-borne diseases, in water samples. This is a result of rise in underground water level.
“Most of the water supply pipes run underground. During monsoon, the sub-soil water level rises and seeps through leaky pipelines,” informs an official with civic Hydraulic Engineering department.
According to the official, many of these leakages are caused while trenching for utility services. “We come to know about the leakage only when we receive a complaint of contamination in water supply. It takes us a lot of time to detect the location of the damage,” he said.
BMC had sought to address the issue of pipe leakage
through Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping of water connections as part of its Rs 250-crore Water Distribution Improvement Programme. “The GIS mapping will tell us the exact location of leakage,” said Ashok kumar Tawadia, Hydraulic Engineer, BMC.
But it seems that the programme, launched on pilot basis in H-West and T wards through Suez Environment India Private Limited, in August last year, is yet to see any progress. The BMC has still not released a progress report of the pilot project which was supposed to be completed within two months. Hydraulic Department’s S R Argade, who is looking after the project refused to speak to The Indian Express, saying that he is not authorized to do so.
The contamination report is compiled through regular inspection of water samples from fixed locations across all 24 wards. In the city, the highest contamination is found in C-ward (areas near Marine Drive, IR Road and Abdul Rehman street), B-ward (areas near D’Mello Road and Lokmanya Tilak Marg) and D-ward (Malabar Hills, Tardeo, Bhuleshwar).