The dip in lake levels due to insufficient rainfall in the city has now forced the civic administration to prepare contingency plans in case of a deficient monsoon. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has commenced preliminary preparation for cloud seeding in catchment areas.
The rain deficit in Mumbai has been climbing,with the island city recording a rain deficit of 53 per cent from June 1 till date,while the suburbs have recorded a deficit of 24 per cent. The situation is grim but we hope that the next few weeks will give us good rainfall, said Rajeev Jalota,Additional Municipal Commissioner,BMC.
We are in talks with the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune and the India Meteorological Department (IMD),Mumbai,for possible cloud seeding. Although there might not be a need for it,we must be prepared, said Jalota.
To tackle water shortage,BMC had announced 10 per cent water cut that has been in force for the past month. Although there is no decision on a further water cut,a final call will be taken by August-end in case the rainfall is not good, he said.
The BMC is also working on a plan to ensure proper flow at the fag ends of supply chain in the city. There are over 100 spots at extreme ends that receive water at a very low pressure. The plan includes finding other sources of potable water in these areas,such as private wells. There are approximately 784 private wells in the city and the BMC will solicit the Collectors assistance in acquiring them, said an official.
The civic body is simultaneously starting awareness drives so that citizens conserve water in their homes and societies take up rainwater harvesting.
Although civic officials maintained that water in lakes has not dipped to alarming levels,the next few weeks will be critical. The total useful water content in the six lakes supplying water to the city currently stands at 3,47,197 million litres as against 5,82,612 million litres in 2011. This effectively means it stands at 60 per cent of the total water content in lakes this time last year.
According to IMD officials,the performance of the south-west monsoon country-wide has been weak so far this year,beginning with a delay arriving in Kerala on June 5 instead of June 1. This led to its late arrival in Mumbai on June 17,a week after the normal onset date of June 10. The city remained mostly dry in June except for heavy spells on two or three days.