Mumbai, June 26 (IANS) It is monsoon time, and Mumbai, famous for its heavy showers and rainy season, is, ironically, about to face cuts in water supply.
The warning of likely water rationing came Tuesday from Mumbai Mayor Sunil Prabhu, who said the current water stock in the city could only last till July 15. A day earlier, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar warned of a grave water crisis looming over the state.
"We have sufficient stocks to last till July 15. In case there is no rainfall before then, we shall be compelled to go for water cuts," Prabhu cautioned the 18 million people of the country's commercial capital.
Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte said he would review the crisis situation again within the next couple of days since rains have eluded the city.
Mumbai gets its water supply from six lakes - Tansa, Vihar, Tulsi, all in Mumbai, and Upper Vaitarna, Modak Sagar and Bhatsa, all on the outskirts of the city.
Water from another important source, Powai Lake in suburban Mumbai is used only for industrial purposes.
At present, Mumbai requires 3,600 million litres per day, but the civic corporation is able to provide only 2,900 million litres per day (MLD).
The situation is expected to improve in the next couple of years after the Middle Vaitarna project is completed.
Drinking water is distributed across the city through a century-old maze of pipelines that sees large quantities of wastage through leakages, pilferages and even deliberate damages to steal water.
Besides Mumbai, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, comprising parts of neighbouring Thane and Raigad districts, is also in the grip of a water crisis.
All the major civic bodies in the region - including Thane, Navi Mumbai, Vasai-Virar, Mira-Bhayander, Kalyan-Dombivali and Bhiwandi-Nizampur - have reported severe shortage of potable water for public distribution.
Like Mumbai, all civic bodies are conducting regular meetings to review the bleak water scenario and chalking out measures to tackle the situation if the monsoon fails to revive soon.
The situation is worse in Pune, the state's cultural and academic capital, where only four percent water supply remains in the reservoirs.
Ajit Pawar Tuesday announced that from Wednesday, Pune would get limited water supply on alternate days till July 7, after which the situation would be reviewed.
Meanwhile, the Pune Municipal Corporation is contemplating drawing water from Lavasa Dam nearby, but no final decision has been taken in the matter.
In view of the critical situation engulfing the state, Pawar Monday ordered all available water resources to be used only for drinking purposes and cut off supply to agriculture and farms.