The trillion litre question: From where does Mumbai get its water?

As angry residents from Shahapur threaten to stop water supply to Mumbai, where does the city get its share of water?

FP Staff May 18, 2016 12:39:15 IST
The trillion litre question: From where does Mumbai get its water?

On 14 March, 300 people from Shahapur (the largest taluka in Thane), led by local BJP leader Santosh Shinde, embarked on a walk towards Mumbai. They were peeved at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for drawing water from reservoirs in their area, which was already water deprived and threatened to stop Mumbai's supply, if the government failed to ensure adequate water for them.

Their 'Jaldindi Padyatra' reached Mumbai on Tuesday after covering a distance of around 75 km, and the residents submitted their 10-point demands to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Their number one demand: that BMC adopt Shahapur so they don't have to rely on tankers. "We demand adequate water provision for us too, otherwise, we will have no choice but to stop the supply of water which is being diverted to Mumbaikars from our soil," Shinde said, while addressing the gathering at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai.

The trillion litre question From where does Mumbai get its water

Image courtesy: Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai

This brings us to the question: where does Mumbai get its water from?

The outskirts of Shahapur have four reservoirs — Bhatsa, Tansa, Modak Sagar and the Vaitarna — that supply 2,960 million litres of water to Mumbai every day through pipelines.

According to the Mumbai City Development Plan 2005-2025, Mumbai's population has reached 12 million which requires around 3,900 million litres per day (MLD). At present, 3,100 MLD is being supplied for domestic, commercial and industrial requirements.

Apart from the four reservoirs in Shahapur, Mumbai obtains water from various other schemes including Vihar, Tulsi and Powai, Lower Vaitarna, Upper Vaitarna, Bhatsa Stage I and II.

In 1860, Vihar was the first piped water supply scheme and it now supplies 68 MLD to 7,00,000 people. The Tulsi and Powai scheme supplies 4 LD used for agriculture and dairy purposes. The water from the Tansa scheme is drawn through seven outlets at different levels and it supplies a total of 410 MLD and the Lower Vaitarna scheme increased the city's water supply by an additional 540 MLD.

According to a report by the Bombay Community Public Trust and the Chitale Committee, as the population is projected to expand to 16 million by 2021, future water sources have been identified to augument Mumbai's increasing thirst. In the report mentioned above, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, recognising the need for water will rise to 5,388 MLD, has further proposed the Mumbai Middle Vaitarna Water Supply Project, which make the total up to 3,810 MLD.

A report in The Hindu details the Shahapur residents' plight who say that they can survive a year with the same amount of water that Mumbai consumes in a day. It further adds that the taluka requires 17.62 MLD for a population of four lakh.

Water-scarcity in the taluka has led to the shutdown of industries which in turn has led to severe unemployment among youngsters.

With inputs from PTI

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