In Focus

'How to conserve water when we get none?'

A Draft Colaba Correspondent

Mumbai's water supply affected adversely, on 26 October and 27 October owing to repair works undertaken by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), is set to hit normalcy.

According to BMC A Ward's Sub Engineer (Water Works) Neeta Arote, "The water crisis created in South Mumbai was triggered by a slump in water levels in the reservoir at Malabar Hill caused by the repair works at water pumping station at Bhandup and Pise Panjrapur Complexes." 

WATER WOES: Colaba residents had to purchase water during the supply cut (File pic)
The Malabar Hill reservoir, built in 1880, incidentally supplies drinking water to some of the prime areas in the city, including Colaba, Fort, Churchgate, Cuffe Parade, Chowpatty, Malabar Hill, Peddar Road and Altamount Road.

While the city and suburbs was bracing for a 15 per cent water cut as announced by the BMC, most parts of South Mumbai, particularly Colaba, suffered adversely and received barely 10 per cent of its regular water supply, residents collectively rued. 

"It was terrible as I barely had enough water to cook, forget bathe or clean up the house," said Fort-based 45-year-old homemaker and mother of two Shruti Dave. "Our building residents had to pool in and order water from a tanker for the day. If only the BMC had apprised us of the enormity of the situation in advance, we could have made preparations in advance," she maintained.

Incidentally, maintenance work was scheduled for the replacement of two 1,200 mm diameter sluice valves at the 1910 MLD pumping station of Bhandup Complex and replacement work of Stage 3 pump set at Pise Panjrapur Complex. That apart, the BMC also attended to leakages on 1,800 mm diameter water mains. While the BMC had made public announcements of complete water stoppage in areas under K/East, S, G/North and H/East wards, a large portion of the island city suffered owing to the slump in water supply.
"Why does the BMC say there'll be a water cut of 15 per cent when, in reality, there was supply of 15 per cent? The issue is a cyclical one. Every year, without fail, there're repairs to water lines and 'cuts' that persist over days on end," says Fourth Pasta Lane-resident Imran Mesiwala. "The BMC keeps forwarding messages to residents to 'conserve water' during these cuts but how do they expect residents to conserve water when they get none at all?" he says.
The issue must be resolved once and for all, he says, adding, "the authorities should know how to handle maintenance work that does not affect primary functioning of services. If one pump is to be repaired, they surely must have a spare one to put in place. Almost every second building in Colaba and Fort had to order for water from private tankers."

The water supply in the slums in Colaba area, Sundar Nagari, Sudam Jhopdi and Azad Nagari, was also affected drastically during this period. "Yesterday morning, it was only when we got up at 4.30 am we realised there is no water supply. We didn't have an inkling of this or else would have prepared accordingly. Anyway the water supply is limited to three hours in the morning so if the supply is cut, we are hit rather badly," says Sundar Nagari-resident Sahil Salvi.

Septuagenarian resident Dorothy Yazdegardi who lives with her husband in a Pasta Lane building "suffered immensely," owing to, what she says, "complete communication failure on issues of water supply, shortage and cuts on the part of the BMC with residents who are caught off-guard, as a rule."

UPDATE: As per The Draft Colaba's sources, water supply in the affected areas will be slightly delayed yet restored on 27 October 2021. The pressure levels are expected to be as normal. This follows the successful completion of the repair works undertaken by the BMC.

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