As the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) continues to waste 1.5 million litres of treated water considered fit for non-potable purposes into the sea per day due to lack of distribution network, Raj Bhavan officials said they are likely to take up the matter with the civic body.
Officials from Raj Bhavan said they have been demanding 1.5 lakh litres of treated water from the Banganga sewage treatment plant (STP) for last few years for the gardening purposes. They have also written to the civic body many times in last three to four years. They wrote to the additional municipal commissioner (projects) on September 19, 2015, to press for their demand since hydraulic officials did not respond positively to their requests.
Referring to the September 19 letter, A Tawadia, a hydraulic engineer had replied to the Raj Bhavan officials on December 30, 2015 asking whether they are ready to buy 1000 litres of water for Rs 14.52.
“It is really shocking to see the BMC’s reply. At present, we get potable water for Rs 3.5 for per 1000 litres. Then, how can the BMC expects us to pay higher than that to buy the treated water. BMC is not a commercial organisation to make money. It should not take decisions on the basis of cost benefit ratios. Rather than wasting treated water into sea, it should give treated water to us for gardening on lesser charges than potable water,” a Raj Bhavan official told The Indian Express.
Officials added that they had discussed setting up of a STP in the Raj Bhavan premises around four years ago. “The estimated cost for it was around Rs 70 lakh. But the BMC told us that maintenance would be difficult, and hence the project was cancelled. Then, the civic body had promised to provide us with treated water from Banganga STP. But, nothing has happened so far,” explained the official.
An official slammed the civic body for not resolving the issue despite repeated meetings. “It seems that the BMC is not serious about the water shortage issue. Otherwise, they would not have wasted 1.5 mld treated water into the sea. It is criminal to waste water at a time when Marathwada is facing the most severe water crisis in recent times. Also, IPL matches has to be shifted out of state due to water scarcity. If this treated water is supplied for non potable purposes to Raj Bhavan and other gardens in the vicinity, that much potable water would be saved which can be used for drinking purposes elsewhere in city,” added the official.
On April 15, The Indian Express reported how the BMC has wasted around 100 crore litres treated water fit for usage of non potable purposes such as gardening from the Banganga STP in the last two years.
Despite repeated calls and messages, Tawadia was not available for comment. Sanjay Mukherjee, additional municipal commissioner (project), also did not respond.
Hydraulic officials said the issue of rates can be sorted out if they are ready to buy treated water. “At least, they should have replied stating whether they are ready to buy the treated water at Rs 14.52 for per 1000 litres. If they want to buy treated water and have any issues with rates, the decision can be taken at the higher level since it is a policy decision. The issue of rates can be sorted out,” said a senior hydraulic official.
At present, there is a 15 per cent water cut since August 26, 2015, across the city with daily supply of 3,275 mld as against the demand of 42,00 mld. Hydraulic officials maintain that the water stock will last till June 15 and then it will have to use the reserve stock, with permission from the state government, which can be used up till July 31.