Several housing societies in Mumbai have kept their swimming pools shut now to prevent any peak summer crisis, after BMC imposed 10% water cuts since November due to low stocks in the lakes that cater to Mumbai.
For instance, Sion’s Vasanti Apartments has shut its pool for a month while Splendor Township in Navi Mumbai has kept its pool closed for the past couple of months. A senior BMC engineer said the civic body does not supply water to swimming pools and that societies have to arrange water for their pools themselves—through filtration plants, harvest sumps, borewells, etc.
Jasbir Singh Bira, president of the Mumbai Water Tankers’ Association, said many society and club swimming pools are using filtration plants to ensure continuous water supply. Societies and clubs that do not have filtration plants keep their pools shut periodically to avoid continued expenditure on tankers. “As a result, only five or six tankers of water is supplied to housing societies for swimming pools every day now. Until a few years ago, 20 to 25 tankers of water would go for swimming pools alone every day,” he said.
According to him, apartments such as Vasanti have shown their responsibility towards the society. “We also rationed the limited drinking water in order to save it. A majority of dams have only 25-30% water left,” said a resident of Vasanti Apartments explaining their decision to shut their pool for a month. In fact, the total stock in the seven lakes that supply water to Mumbai now is at 22%.
The reason for the shortage is that lakes in the catchment area received good rains only in June-July last year, while the monsoon months of August and September were considerably dry. At present, the city is reeling under a 10% water cut and a 15% cut in the water supply timings on residential, commercial and industrial premises. This was implemented from November after the water quantum in the lakes was found to be insufficient to sustain till this monsoon.
Currently, the total stocks in all seven lakes stand at 3.23 lakh million litres, compared to 5.06 lakh million litres on April 17, 2018. The useful content of water is the least in the Upper Vaitarna and Vihar catchment areas (13.05%) while its maximum in the Tulsi catchment (39.2%)—Tulsi, being a very small, provides for around 1% of the city’s needs. The Bhatsa lake, from where Mumbai receives its maximum water supply, has 21.9% of useful water content in it.