Innovative solution for Mumbai’s water woes! Maximum city to get its first desalination plant

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November 24, 2020 4:53 PM

The desalination project would provide relief to Mumbai residents in tackling the 10% to 15% water cut they face every year in the months of May and June due to the delayed monsoon.

The scheme will cover the consumers whose bills were pending till March 31 last year.

Mumbai to get its first desalination plant! On Monday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray gave the go-ahead to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for setting up a plant. The plant is being set up to overcome the problem of water shortage faced by the financial capital in May and June. The proposed plant will come up at Manori and is expected to process 200 million litres of water daily (MLD), according to an IE report. The desalination project would provide relief to Mumbai residents in tackling the 10% to 15% water cut they face every year in the months of May and June due to the delayed monsoon, the CM of Maharashtra said.

Thackeray, who recently took a review of the project said that the production cost will also be reduced if the project is implemented on solar energy. At Manori, government land is available and besides, roads are available as well. As in this place, there is no urban settlement, the project will be completed without any interruption, the CM further said. According to BMC commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal, the project is proposed to be set up on a land of 25 to 30 acres, at Manori and the capacity of 200 MLD is convenient for future capacity expansion. The project, which is expected to cost around Rs 1,600 crore, will take a period of about two and a half to three years to complete. The cost of construction will be approximately 3 to 4 paise per litre, Chahal added.

According to officials, BMC is planning to take the ‘Swiss Challenge Method’ for the implementation of the project. Under the ‘Swiss Challenge Method’, a private player can be awarded a project on an unsolicited proposal. The private company which has submitted a proposal first, can be directly approached for negotiations. In case they do not agree, then other bidders are called, according to the report. Civic officials were quoted in the report saying that a primary report from the company will be submitted before the BMC in a couple of weeks after which a feasibility study will be conducted following the DPR. If everything goes as per plan then the financial capital could have its first desalination plant by the year 2025, they said.

In the year 2016, a proposal for setting up a desalination plant was cancelled by the BMC, citing high cost as well as lack of land. In the year 2007, a high-level committee, appointed by the state government, had recommended setting up desalination plants in Mumbai. The BMC had then said that the cost will be Rs 1000 crore for setting up 100 MLD desalination plant and also, it requires large amounts of energy as well as specialized expensive infrastructure.

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