The stocks in lakes on July 21 stood at a little more than 4 lakh million litres, which is 28% of the requirement. On the same day last year, it was 7.6 lakh million litres, or 52% of the required stock. Before that, the stocks stood over 11 lakh million litres. Even though Tulsi lake’s water level stands at 139.1 m (overflow level is 139.2 m), it is the smallest lake supplying water to the city, fulfilling only 1% of the city’s requirements.
With no forecast for heavy rain in the coming days of the month, the low water stock, compared to previous years, is a cause for concern. Weathermen said a reason for city areas reporting more rain as compared to the interiors, where the catchment lakes are, was because cloud bands were strong near the coast.
The constant influx of moisture from Arabian Sea leads to formation of clouds. As clouds move into the city, it gives parts of Mumbai’s suburbs significant rain, but they fizzle out before reaching the catchment areas.
Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra also took to Twitter to raise concern over low lake levels on July 20, saying, “In a cruel twist of fate, lake levels in Mumbai remain perilously low despite the city having received its full quota of July rainfall. Apart from the fact that rainfall tapered off as it approached the lakes, there’s perhaps another cause. Found this narrative at http://numerical.co.in: “increased personal hygiene practices as well as added stay-at-home demands from running tap water to wash germs off fruits&vegetables… had perhaps led to increased water usage and subsequent depletion. Ironically, Covid 19 is raising per capita water needs to more affluent country levels. Not just Mumbai, but other Indian cities could face a crisis in water supply by next year… We will need to aggressively plan ahead to save water & augment resources.”
Additional municipal commissioner P Velrasu told TOI the city was still in the middle of the monsoon, and with India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) forecast for a normal monsoon this year, they are hoping the situation will improve. “So far, no decision on water cuts has been taken for Mumbai, but we are closely monitoring the situation,” he said. On whether consumption of water by residential users owing to Covid-19 had been higher, he said it was possible considering all major commercial establishments in the past few months were shut, and yet with water stocks being low, there may have been increased usage by residential users to whom BMC supplies 155 litres of water per capita.