BMC may scrap Pinjal dam project

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is not keen on constructing Pinjal dam in Palghar district any more. Considering the extensive delays in building Gargai dam, the civic body is considering scrapping the Pinjal dam project, which is to supply 880 million litres of water daily (MLD) once operational. Instead, the BMC wants to focus on treatment of sewage water for non-potable uses to reduce dependency on potable water.

The city currently gets 3,800 million litres (approximate) of water every day, and engineers expect the demand will increase to 5,940 million litres by 2041. So the State government and the BMC had planned two dams — Gargai (440MLD) and Pinjal — and a river linking project — Damanganga-Pinjal. Other than Gargai and Pinjal, the river link is to add another 1,586 million litres, thus covering the deficit.

But years after the three projects were planned, they continue to remain on paper. The BMC recently informed the standing committee that construction of Gargai dam would cost ₹3,100 crore. The civic body is pushing for this dam and wants to make it functional by 2025. But considering the huge costs, time, permissions required, time taken for land acquisition, and rehabilitation of the affected people, the civic body is not keen on Pinjal dam right now.

“The consensus is, looking at the time taken by Gargai dam itself, we can instead look at harnessing treated waste water under the Mumbai Sewage Disposal Project (MSDP)-II to make up for the deficit. This water can be used for non-potable uses and the potable water can be used to meet the additional demand,” said Shirish Dixit, chief engineer, water supply projects, BMC.

Under MSDP-II, the civic body is supposed to build seven sewage treatment plants in the city. But work on these plants has also been stuck in delays over the years.

However, the BMC will still carry out an environment and social impact assessment of Pinjal dam, based on which it will take a final decision. If Pinjal is scrapped, it raises a question on the river linking project as Pinjal dam is a crucial part of it.

The Damanganga-Pinjal river linking project is to be implemented in association with the Gujarat government. Since these are national projects, the BMC will require State government’s permission to deviate from the original plan.

On Tuesday, Water Resources Minister Jayant Patil held a review meeting on the river linking project.

Municipal Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi could not be reached for comment.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 3:47:31 AM |

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