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Friday, July 12, 2013

TRACKING THE MONSOON BMC system to curb water contamination still dated


Mumbaikars Suffer As Unclean Water Causes Illnesses While Rain-Related Tragedies Drown Claims Of Preparedness


Mumbai: Most of the BMC's promised measures to curb rising water contamination over the pastfew years arestill totakeoff. 
    Two years ago, the civic body,for instance,had planned toexpand andupgradethe municipal laboratory in its GNorth (Dadar West) ward office.Thiswould allowfor more testsof water samples and quick generation of test reports. Currently, the lab can handle 500 samples a day and give resultswithin 48 hours.Onceupdated, the lab would be able to handle around 2,000 samples daily.The plan isstillon paper. 
    Similarly, it had decided to bring in modern methods to detect leakage and to fix them. So far, the BMC relies on the primitive 'sounding' method. Civic officials told TOI that they are in the process of obtaining modern technology to detectleakageunder theRs 350 crore water distribution improvement program (WDIP). This program should be place by 2013-end,theofficialssaid. 
    Tillitcomesin,though,the BMCwillcontinuetotakehelp of 'sounding mukadams'. Theseemployeesof theBMC's hydraulic department make rounds of the city with a "special gadget" called the "sounding rod". 
    To locate the exact point of the leakage, a mukadam tap 

the gadgeton the groundover a buried pipeline with his ear placed on the rod's other end. Vibration due to the leak is detectedby the rod andconverted into a specific sound, which tends to be continuous. This method can be used during nights asthereislittletraffic. 
    Theother so-called method involves repairing leaks that are visible. "Visible leaks that are pointed out, though, are not repaired for more than a week. This leads to wastage of water andincreaseschancesof contamination," said Crompton Texeria, a 65-year-old social activist from Kalina who has helped the BMC spot more than 1,000leaks. 
    Another announcement to map underground water lines using the geographic information system (GIS)has notstarted yet.Oncedone,theBMCwill be abletozeroin on theexactlocation and quality of a pipeline. This will help them undertake preventive measures before a linestartsleaking. 
    "There were a few issues that needed to be resolved before commencing on the GIS project. Most of the issues are sorted out and the project will begin soon," said a senior civic official. 
    Long-term measures such as replacement of pipes and building more tunnels instead of water mains will also help plug contamination caused duetotampering of pipelines. 
Times View: Plan early, deliver on promises he BMC cannot blame nature for water contamination, not in twenty-firstcentury Mumbai. The problems are age-old, the BMC knows what the problems are and has repeatedly promised to take corrective measures. Yet, again this year, it's the same litany of complaints pouring in from several parts of the city. Waking up to the issue now and trying to redress the immediate grievances just won't do. The civic body has to plan early and deliver on its promises so that there is some long-term solution to this problem.

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