Mumbai: 5th September 2015: It’s a known fact that a major water shortage and scarcity looms over Mumbai and a drought situation in many districts of Maharashtra. Even though the government and the BMC in Mumbai are not saying it so clearly right now, so as not to alarm citizens during the festival season, a news report in the DNA states the present stock of water in the six lakes supplying water to Mumbai is far, far below the required levels.The same report goes on to say that the present stock of water in the six lakes supplying water to Mumbai is far below the required levels. According to a recent report in the Indian Express, an extended dry spell has depleted water sources in several parts of Maharashtra. State Agriculture Minister Eknath Khadse said water sources have almost entirely dried up in three districts, Latur, Beed, and Osmanabad, in the worst-hit Marathwada region, triggering a serious drinking water crisis.
The Bharat Citizens Action Forum or BCAF in association with IndiaNewsNetwork.in has launched a massive awareness campaign in Mumbai and Maharashtra titled, Pani Bachao Mumbai Bachao on the occasion of Janmashtami to spread awareness about the gigantic problem looming over Mumbai and Maharashtra. Model and actress Arshi Khan who is the spokesperson and chief patron of the campaign, says, “Every day thousands of liters of water are wasted in Mumbai – washing cars, vehicles, and also due to leakage, water theft and unnecessary wastage or overuse of precious water. Water is the most precious natural resource we have. We must preserve and conserve water at all costs or a terrible situation will arise where water may have to be rationed in Mumbai.”
According to media reports, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in Mumbai and the city administrators are playing down the emergency, but Mumbai is facing a huge water shortage this year say news reports. Already the BMC had quitely implemented an unofficial 10% water cut from August end, and according to latest reports, a decision was taken this week that residential, commercial and industrial areas will face a 20 per cent water cut where as malls, multiplexes, swimming pools, restaurants and hotels (that have water supply pipelines more than 100 mm in diameter) will face 50 per cent water cut.
Arshi Khan who is the promoter and chief patron of this campaign said, “The BCAF has launched a poster campaign, a mega fashion show and a caption campaign in Mumbai for youth. The idea is to create a massive awareness of the real and existing sitution in the city so that water conservation and wastage is totally prevented, so that drastic measures like rationing of water need to be taken at the last minute, when the crisis worsens. If we save water and reduce unnecessary consumption today, we may not have to face severe measures later on during the summer of 2016,” Arshi Khan said. Camaal Mustafa Sikander – Mumbai’s expert sign-age, branding and web consultant and fashion photographer has consented to provide interesting and innovative poster designs and graphics for the BCAF Pani Bachao Mumbai Bachao campaign.
According to the DNA, the present stock of water in the six lakes supplying water to Mumbai is far below the required levels. The stock, as on August 20,2014, was 1299666 million litres. This would suffice the city for 351 days. This year, the stock is down to 934638 million litres. which may last only for 252 days.
Statistics or a comparison of the six lakes shows that water levels are dismally low. In fact, when the city had faced a similar water shortage during 2012, the civic body had imposed a 20% water cut throughout the year.
As reported in the media, Sanjay Mukherjee, Additional Municipal Commissioner says, “If it does not rain in September, the BMC will resort to stricter measures which may include providing water to the city only on alternate days. The water levels in lakes have fallen by 28 per cent as compared to the same time last year. Moreover, there is a shortage of 35 per cent water required throughout the year. We will come down heavily if incidences of water theft or wastage of water are discovered.” The BMC plans to impose stiff fines and penalties if water wastage is found out.
Not, just Mumbai, the entire state is feeling the water shortage due to scanty rains in August. According to a report in the Indian Express, an extended dry spell has depleted water sources in several parts of the state. Maharashtra Agriculture Minister Eknath Khadse said water sources have almost entirely dried up in three districts, Latur, Beed, and Osmanabad, in the worst-hit Marathwada region, triggering a serious drinking water crisis.
Following a specially convened meeting of a cabinet sub-committee where water supply was deliberated, Khadse said, “We decided to evoke a contingency plan to deal with the crisis.” The cabinet committee has decided to reserve dam water for supply of drinking water. While the government has pressed 1,751 tankers into service for supplying water to 1,340 villages and 2,362 hamlets, the cabinet sub-committee on Tuesday eased norms for tanker water supply further. “The cap that the tanker water will be supplied within 50 km of the water sources may be relaxed for areas where no water is available within the prescribed limit,” Khadse said.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis recently said, “The uncertainty over rains has reduced the ground water table in Maharashtra, which has adversely hit farming, prompting the state government to launch a major statewide water conservation programme.”
The BCAF has invited citizens to support and contribute to this campaign in any way they can. Please contact the BCAF on bharat.citizens.action.forum AT gmail.com