As lakes dry up Mumbai stare at severe water crisis

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A view of the skyline of the city of Mumbai, Wednesday, during the Monsoon season. Photo: PTI
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Mumbai: In an ominous statement, the Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Thursday warned of an impending water crisis looming over the country's commercial capital owing to delayed monsoon.

Left with barely 4.95 per cent water stocks in all the lakes, the BMC has now started using its precious water reserves to quench the thirst of the city's 17 million people.

"The civic administration has made arrangements of supplying water to the citizens up to July-end using reserve stocks of water. All are requested to cooperate and the citizens must use water carefully," the BMC said in an official appeal.

Painting a dry picture, the BMC said as on Thursday, the amount of water left in all the lakes was a measly 71,574 million litre (4.95 per cent).

The comparative figure last year was 270,668 ML (18.70 per cent) while in 2017 it was 351,081 ML (24.26 per cent), indicating a huge shortfall.

For comfortable round-the-year supply, the BMC said it needed at least 1,447,363 ML water stocks.

The scenario went grim earlier this month as water supply was stopped from Upper Vaitarna Lake since June 24 as the water level went below zero. Supply from Middle Vaitarna stopped from June 17 while Bhatsa Lake was drawing water below the lowest drawable limits.

The position is gloomy with regard to the other lakes like Modak Sagar, Tansa Lake, Vehar Lake and the tiny Tulsi Lake where water levels have touched rock bottom, while water from Powai Lake is being used only for industrial purposes, officials said.

Appeals are also doing the rounds on social media with messages and videos urging people to save water and use only what is required. The benefits of rainwater harvesting is also being highlighted.

Some videos are exhorting people, restaurants and hotels to adopt the principle of 'cutting pani', a take-off on Mumbai's famed 'cutting chai' (half cup of tea), to further save water. Using aerators on domestic taps for optimum use of water and recycling water as much as possible are among the other tips.

Incidentally, though the India Meteorological Department (IMD) had announced that monsoon officially hit Mumbai on June 25, so far the city and its surroundings areas have been experiencing mostly a dry, hot and humid season.

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