Good news! Mumbaikars can now drink water directly from taps, says BMC

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New Delhi | Published: May 13, 2019 4:49:06 PM

Given that clean, drinking water from taps is now a reality for Mumbaikars, the next step forward can be to formulate a broader approach to catalyze these water reforms and take it to the next level via digitization.

Mumbai drinking water quality,Mumbai access to clean water, clean water, clean drinking water, is bmc water drinkable, information on water supply in Mumbai, mumbai water quality report, water ts level in Mumbai, clean drinking water, clean drinking water in IndiaGiven that clean, drinking water from taps is now a reality for Mumbaikars, the next step forward can be to formulate a broader approach to catalyze these water reforms and take it to the next level via digitization.

Good news for Mumbaikars! Mumbaikars can now access clean drinking water directly from taps, according to a TOI report. The transformation in Mumbai city’s water quality began way back in 2012, following a disturbing outbreak of waterborne diseases in specific areas, following which it was found that water contamination was rampant. Immediate measures began to be taken by BMC.

Over the years, due to inaccessibility to clean drinking water, the worst hit had been the slum dwellers. Water contamination exposes slum dwellers to diseases such as jaundice, typhoid, malaria, dengue, tuberculosis and food poisoning.

Following the 2012 outbreak, BMC’s drinking water-oriented measures involved a major revamp of the existing water pipeline connections. Keep in mind that water supply to Mumbai is also dependent on its six lakes. So, the water that comes from lakes has to go through a five-stage process of purification through water treatment plants.

The treated water is stored at specific service reservoirs located in the city through inlet mains, which are maintained and charged for 24 hours. It is these service reservoirs that supply water in different supply zones of Mumbai, from 90 minutes to 24 hours, based on variable factors. Attention is drawn to more details related to Mumbai city’s water supply and related challenges in the 2016 USAID report.

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Other significant measures by BMC include installing water testing points across the city’s water zones, improving response time to water contamination complaints, among other things.

However, a brief perusal of the above mentioned 2016 USAID report titled, ‘Drinking Water Supply for Urban Poor: City of Mumbai’ throws more clarity on the challenges that had to be overcome when tackling issues pertaining to water supply in Mumbai and the on-ground solutions that have been incrementally introduced.

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One of the key concerns pertained to how slum dwellers depend on the city’s informal water distribution systems and only those structures that are established before 1st Jan 1995 were entitled to water supply.

According to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation report cited in the USAID report, Greater Mumbai was home to around 6,475,440 slum dwellers way back in 2006. Now, you can understand what a huge and complex mission it is to implement water reforms and transform the city’s drinking water supply and sanitation.

Another challenge referred to how residents of non-notified slums suffer the most due to water unavailability. In case of households with own tap connection, there is a pattern of reselling water to neighbours on a regular basis, which is acknowledged as an illegal activity but deemed to be necessary when water supply is not adequate to all residents. Also, the reselling of water paved the way for the emergence of water hoarders and local water mafias in specific areas where water shortage was rampant.

In tackling the water contamination issue head on, the first move by BMC was to convert the city’s steel water pipelines into underground concrete water tunnels. The next move was to upgrade water testing laboratories and shift to Membrane Filter technique to enable precise readings in 24 hours.

A TOI report now quotes the BMC officials as saying that water at municipal pipe-lines are contamination free and safe to drink. All test results indicate that it is safe for Mumbaikars to drink directly from the taps.

Since 2014, incremental improvements have begun to address the common man’s complaints through the BMC’s functional citizens’ services website.

This means that Mumbaikars can easily download forms, register complaints, and track their applications. From 2014, a user-friendly process for payment of bills and many other services were implemented, marking a seamless transition from e-governance to mobile-governance.

For instance, in August 2014, BMC launched its 24/7 mobile application for Android-based platforms, which functions as a payment gateway for speedy payment of water bills. This payment gateway is connected with over 72 banks to facilitate timely bill payment. For Mumbaikars, benefits include tracking the status of their applications, registering and tracking complaints regarding water issues and so on.

Given that clean, drinking water from taps is now a reality for Mumbaikars, the next step forward can be to formulate a broader approach to catalyze these water reforms and take it to the next level via digitization.

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