IN A bid to meet Mumbai’s burgeoning water demand, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is slated to roll out tenders on the ambitious desalination plant project next week.
A desalination plant is an industrial facility that extracts the saline and mineral components of sea water to make it suitable for human consumption and irrigation purposes. Speaking to The Indian Express, senior civic officials maintained that the project will be an eco-friendly venture.
P Velrasu, additional municipal commissioner (projects) said, “With upcoming projects such as the Dharavi redevelopment plant which is in the works, there is going to be an increase in the demand for water in the megapolis in the days to come. Therefore, developing the desalination plant is the need of the hour.”
“Furthermore, the population of the city is going to increase annually. We are taking up the project in order to ensure that the city can match the growing demand of water in the coming years,” said Velrasu, adding that the plan is future-proof.
Pegged at an estimated cost of Rs 13,028 crore, the civic body seeks to design and build the project over the course of next three years. Data furnished by the civic body shows that while estimated cost for the first phase of the project is Rs 5,625 crore, the second phase — which seeks to expand the plant to a capacity to 400 MLD — is pegged at Rs 7,404 crore. For the record, in the financial year 2023-24 budget, BMC had earmarked Rs 200 crore fund for this project.
According to civic officials, the proposed plant will have the capacity to treat 200 million litre (MLD) of water daily. Meanwhile, seeking to meet the rising water demands in the future, BMC has chalked out a provision to augment the capacity to 400 MLD in the second phase of the project.
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Currently, the country’s financial capital is dependent on monsoon showers for its annual water supply with Mumbai drawing its daily water supply from seven lakes — Tansa, Bhatsa, Modak Sagar, Tulsi, Vehar, Upper Vaitarna and Middle Vaitarna — situated in the city’s suburbs and its neighbouring districts. The catchment areas of these lakes get filled during monsoon, following which water is supplied to the city via a network of pipelines.
While Mumbai has a demand for 4,400 MLD of water daily, the civic body is able to supply nearly 3,800 MLD currently. With the establishment of the proposed desalination plan, the civic body will be able to bridge this gap and curb water scarcity woes.
Last year, the BMC had earmarked a 12-hectare land at Manori village, a seaside hamlet in the northernmost end of suburban Mumbai for setting up this plant.
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