Mumbai: Water-starved city faces 35% cut after pipe bursts

MUMBAI: In what appears to be one of the worst pipeline bursts this year, a six-foot-diameter pipe burst in Bhiwandi on Monday evening. So great is the damage that the entire city will have to do with around 35% less water supply for the next couple of days—something unprecedented in recent history.

“It will take at least two days for the pipe to be repaired. We tried to arrest the water gushing out but it took time because the damage was huge,’’ said deputy municipal commissioner Dineshchandra Gondalia. “We cannot say with certainty how long the repair work will take but we are trying to speed it up as much as possible.’’

The incident occurred at Valgaon near Gundavli on a pipeline carrying water from Tansa to the Bhandup Water Complex around 7 pm. Officials said the age of the century-old pipeline could be the major reason for the burst although the immediate trigger was not known.

At the time of going to press, civic officials were still examining the extent of the damage. Local farmers are worried that the huge flow of water into their fields will damage the standing crops. The repair work is likely to begin in the wee hours of Tuesday.

The Tansa (East) main supplies water to all the major reservoirs of the city from the Bhandup Water Complex. Officials said that almost all parts of Mumbai would face a water shortage till the repairs were complete.

At present, the water content in the lakes supplying the city is 4.57 million litres as opposed to 6 million litres last year.

Frequent pipe bursts in recent times have added to the woes of Mumbai, which is already reeling under a 15% water cut. A recent Right To Information (RTI) query revealed that there were as many as 1,031 cases of pipe bursts or leaks in 2009, draining the city of millions of litres of water.

In fact, the BMC reported about three cases of burst or leaking pipes every day in 2009. The biggest burst last year was in May, when a pipe at Lalbaug ruptured while the flyover there was being constructed. This year, there was a major pipeline burst at Nana Chowk in Grant Road.

According to a hydraulic official, the 3-km stretch between Gundavli and Tarai—where the pipeline splintered open—will have to be isolated. “Once we isolate the stretch, we will have to drain out all the water,’’ he said. “After the patch dries up, we will be able to weld it. The quantity of water lost has not yet been estimated.’’

From TOI

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