Mumbai, Dec 28: For the first time in over a century, taps went dry in the country’s commercial capital for the entire day on Wednesday owing to scheduled repair work being carried out by the civic body on the pipelines bringing water to the city.
The water supply was cut off for 24 hours from 10 am on Wednesday for repairs and connecting already laid pipelines to a filtration plant.
Mumbaikars were geared up for the water cut due to advance intimation from the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM). Many office-goers preferred to eat outside and some housewives avoided washing clothes. Hospitals conducted only emergency operations.
Chief hydraulic engineer Deepak Kajbaje said repair work will be completed by 8 pm on Wednesday and water supply will be restored by midnight — almost 10 hours before schedule. “We are ahead of the schedule and people who did not get water on Wednesday evening will start getting after midnight,” he said. It was for the first time that the MCGM has imposed a 100% cut for 24 hours.
Police said no untoward incidents have been reported due to the water cut in the city. “It is a regular thing and fights happen only when the taps run dry suddenly,” a senior police official said.
The city currently receives 3,200 million litres of water per day and this repair work will enable the city to have an additional 355 million litres of water a day, the MCGM officials said. Experts say with a population of over 16 million, Mumbai requires at least 4,000 MLD of water supply. The second phase of the major repair work is scheduled to take place next month and MCGM officials are confident that the laying will end the water woes of the metropolis.
Fire department also geared up for the water cut. “We have a list of over 100 tanks in the island city and over 1,500 wells in the suburbs which can be a good source of water,” a fire brigade official said.
Officials from the hydraulic engineering department are carrying out the repair works in collaboration with the water supply project division of the MCGM under Mumbai III, a water supply project. During the shutdown being carried today, two valves, each three metres in diameter, in the Yewai reservoir, where water is stored after filtration, will be repaired.
“As the work involves labourers entering into the huge pipelines and working on the valves, total drying of the pipelines is essential due to which cutting the water supply to the city is the only option,” an hydraulic official said. Apart from the work on the valves, pipelines which have already been laid between the bhatsa dam in thane district will be connected to the water filteration station at Pise Pinjrapol.
“Water coming from other pipelines must be stopped while connecting the newer pipeline to the filteration plant. The work must be carried out in isolation which will affect the water supply,” Kajbaje said. Dams in the north mumbai and the thane district, a majority of them built by the British, serve as sources of water for city currently.