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To Tackle water issues Mumbai faces, a new desalination plant in Mumbai has been approved at the cost of Rs. 1,600 crore, the plant will have a capacity of 200 MLD (Million Litres per Day).

New desalination plant will give a relief to city in tackling 10 to 15 per cent of water shortages it faces every year, CM of Maharashtra said.

Plant will be erected at Manori, expanding 30 acres, as is expected to be finished in next 4 years from now.

The plant will also have an expandable capacity up to 400 MLD, which can be utilised in case of poor rainfall times.

The operational costs of desalination plant are usually higher than that of dam based water supply projects, BMC anticipates it to be 50 per cent more than dam based projects.

BMC is Planning to award projects by “Swiss Challenge Method”, wherein private developer is awarded on unsolicited process, though volunteer bidders are approached first for negotiation, and in case of unsuccessful negotiation with volunteer bidder, other potential developers are called in.

Civic officials said, a primary report will be submitted in few weeks, leading from which, a feasibility study is done, following which DPR will be prepared, and if everything goes as planned, Mumbai will have an operational desalination plant by 2025.

The idea of setting up desalination plant in Mumbai came in after a committee suggested to set up plant, back in 2007, which was side-lined in 2016 citing same cost reasons.

P Velrasu, Additional Civic Commissioner, said, The DPR (Detailed Project Report) will be ready in next 9 months, and tenders will be allotted in another 3 months, and the actual project completion will take 3 years from then, the site at Manori was finalised since surrounding region doesn’t have mangroves, with abundant and good quality of water, and is well connected by roads.

He also said, the costs incurred from desalination is Rs. 30 per kilometre against Rs. 20 per kilometre in dam-based projects, over the period of time costs will be neutralised, and the project will be operated on need-based mechanism, which can further keep operational costs low, as in done in other countries like Australia, another advantage of the project is, it is climate neutral.

However, the capital costs of desalination and dam-based projects are same, cost of 400 MLD Gargai dam is Rs. 4,000 crore and whereas 200 MLD desalination plant is Rs. 1,600 crore, he added.

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