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VAK's Engagement with Water Issues > What's been in the Newspapers > July 2008

"Thousands of dead fish in water source no light matter", 20 th July 2008 , The Hindustan Times

The discovery of thousands of kilograms of dead fish in the Bhatsa river earlier this month has raised water security concerns among residents and experts. The Bhatsa reservoir is one of the main sources of water to the city. Not only is the river water a staple for drinking and other purposes for close to two lakh people in 20 village clusters, but it is also pumped to the city after treatment and filtration at the Pise-Panjrapur treatment plant. Dead fish were found in the river basin, tests conducted by the Central Institute of Fisheries Education showed presence of 89 milligram of oil and grease per litre in the water, almost nine times the permissible 10 milligram limit. Satish Patkar, deputy sarpanch of Shahpur, 86 km from the city in Thane district, said villagers had no choice but to drink the river water, a simple alum treatment being the only safeguard employed. This does not take care of the oil, yet we have no choice but to consume it. This is the second year in a row that fish have died.

The BMC maintains the city has nothing to fear. "Due to its chemical properties, oil floats on the surface of water, while pipelines carrying water are submerged 60-70 meters below the water", said Chief Hydraulic Engineer M M Kamble.

Is your drinking water safe?

The water's rust-coloured smells greasy and tastes foul. It's so toxic that fish in Bhatsa River are dying. But you drink it. The water that comes to Mumbai is treated and filtered; experts believe it could still harm you. Reports from the Central Institute of Fisheries Educatin say there is 89 mg of oil and grease in a litre of the river's water. The permissible limit - 10 mg. "The fish died due to choking," it said. Rakesh Kumar, head of Mumbai-based National Environment Engineering Research Institute, said: "If it can do this to fish, drinking this water can affect you too".

"Konkan, West & North Maharashtra seek unused Amravati irrigation funds", 28 th July 2008, The Indian Express

The 15-member delegation, led by Minister for Water Resources (Krishna Valley Project) Ramraje Naik-Nimbalkar, included Eknath Khadse (BJP) and Ganpatrao Deshmukh (Peasants' and Workers' Party). It requested the Governor to provide sufficient funds for irrigation projects in the Krishna river valley, Konkan and North Maharashtra . The delegation members requested the Governor to spend unused funds allotted for irrigation projects in the Amravati division for creating additional irrigation potential in areas like Konkan, Western Maharashtra and North Maharashtra and North Maharashtra - instead of diverting them to Nagpur division.

"15% water-cut to stay" 29 th July 2008 , The Asian Age

Incessant rains in Mumbai and the catchment areas of the lakes supplying water to the city does not really mean that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation will lift the 15 per cent water cut immediately. " Bhatsa Lake 's water level is still very low as a lot of water had to be released from the dam for some maintenance work," said Dr Phatak.

28th July at around 6 a.m. the Tulsi Lake started overflowing. After Modak Sagar, this is only the second lake to have started overflowing in this season. "Mumbai requires 3,400 million litres of water daily and despite the cut we are still drawing the same quantity of water from the lakes every day. Presently, the city is getting water from the Modak Sagar, while the BMC is drawing very small quantities of water from other lakes. The Modak Sagar is situated at higher level when compared to the Tansa Lake . "We will not take any risks by opening the gate as it is a gravity gate. We will have to install a mechanical gate, "said Dr Phatak. According to him if the gates are opened it would be difficult to shout them due to pressure.

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