NMMC water department officials say that Vashi residents will receive water supply 24×7 only if the engineering department completes the work of pumping station at the earliest. It hopes that Vashi will start benefiting by April 2010.
NMMC took over the charge of water supply from CIDCO in 1999. The population of Navi Mumbai was then 7 lakh. NMMC was then purchasing 60 MLD of potable water from Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran and 80 MLD from Maharashtra Industrial and Development Corporation, summing up to 140 MLD against the demand of 200 MLD In view of the growing demand in 2002, it initiated steps to buy Morbe dam water. This was done to end scarcity of water which the city is facing at present and in the future. The demand of water is estimated to be 450 MLD by 2031. It has already made plans for a long term operation and maintenance by using various management techniques and MIS systems.
Presently the city needs 320 mld of water for its 12 lakh population. The supply is received from three of NMMC’s own sources, Morbe dam (450 MLD), Barve dam (100 MLD) Hetwane dam (50 MLD)
Fortunately, the first phase of work on Morbe dam for laying the pipeline from the dam to Navi Mumbai, Vashi at a cost of 553 crores was completed on 31 March 2009. It was expected that within a couple of months the dream of 24×7 water service will come true. To control the misuse of water the work of installing 52,000 water meters in the household was also initiated. Water price was also revised from a flat rate to Rs 4.50 per 1000 liters.
In the meantime the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation bagged the National Urban Award 2009 instituted by the ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) in the category of ‘Services of the Poor’.
Everything went on well except that water failed to reach. On August 16, a wall at Bhokarpada Pumping Station collapsed leading to the failure of pumping machine. This led to the scarcity of water for more than a month. Private water suppliers made hay by supplying a tanker full of water anything between Rs. 3,000 to 5,000 though the regular charge is Rs 600. To tide over the crisis supply was restricted from two hours to just one hour.
Just a couple of days before Deepawali, the supply was restored.
According to Sanjay Desai, executive engineer, water supply department, NMMC says, “The work on pumping station is still going on and may be completed in the next couple of months. Once this is done the work of 24×7 water service will be initiated phase wise each month. The first to benefit will be CBD-Belapur, followed by Nerul, Sanpada and then Vashi”. This means by the next financial year Vashi residents can hope of receiving 24×7 water supply.