BMC appoints consultant to study desalination plant design


The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is taking another step towards setting up the city’s first desalination plant, which will turn drinking water into seawater. The Mumbai civic body has appointed a consultant to study and evaluate designs and details that have been submitted by IDE Water Technologies Ltd (an Israeli company) which has expressed interest in developing a desalination project for BMC.
The project is estimated at Rs 1,600 crores, and maintenance for the next 20 years will cost another Rs 1,920 crores.

The BMC had launched calls for tenders last November to appoint consultants. The Mumbai civic body has appointed M/s SMEC India to study and evaluate the Israeli company’s designs for the desalination plant to be set up in Manori. The appointment was also approved by the standing committee.
The consultants will be responsible for evaluating everything from concept drawings, designs, tender documents, as well as supervising the construction of the project.

However, the municipal authorities have confirmed that the tender for the construction of the plant should be launched around June 2022. “Construction is expected to start next year and the plant should be operational within the next 4 years if everything is going as planned.”

“We have already launched calls for tenders for the appointment of a consultant who will evaluate and analyze for us the plans prepared for the desalination plant. After relaunching the project in 2020, in June 2021, we had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with an Israeli technology company whose job is to prepare a detailed project report and plant design. The plant will have a processing capacity of 200 million liters per day (MLD). Work on the project is expected to start next year,” a BMC official said.

The desalination plant project was first mooted in 2007 after a high-level committee appointed by the state government suggested setting up desalination plants in Mumbai. The proposal was filed with the aim of developing an alternative water source due to low rainfall in the catchments of the dams that supply water to Mumbai. Later in 2016, BMC had started the process of setting up two desalination plants – one in South Mumbai and another in the western suburbs. Each of the two plants was to have a capacity to transform 100 MLD of seawater into drinking water. In the same year, BMC canceled the proposal to set up the desalination plant citing high cost and land issues.
Finally, after Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray showed interest in the project and the BMC decided to relaunch the project again in October 2020.

Currently, Mumbai draws water from Bhatsa, Central Vaitarna, Upper Vaitarna, Tansa and Modak Sagar which are in Thane and Nashik districts. Tulsi and Vihar are the only two lakes located within the city limits. The seven lakes are classified into two systems, the Vaitarna system (composed of upper Vaitarna, middle Vaitarna, Tansa and Modak Sagar) which supplies water to the western suburbs and the island city, and the Bhatsa system (composed of Bhatsa, Vihar and Tulsi lake) which supplies the eastern suburbs.

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Published on: Monday 17 January 2022, 06:00 IST


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