Unlocking Mumbai’s Water History: Malabar Hill Reservoir’s Repair Revelation and Civic Controversy

A Glimpse into Mumbai’s Water Legacy: Malabar Hill Reservoir’s Repair Saga Unveiled

In a surprising revelation, an activist named Zoru Bhathena stumbled upon a document detailing repairs to the Malabar Hill Reservoir (MHR) conducted 35 years ago, without the need to drain the century-old tank. The crucial civic document, discovered in a bag left behind by an official on a local train, has sparked new discussions about the fate of the reservoir.

1. Repairing the Past: A Forgotten Feat

The uncovered document sheds light on repairs carried out in 1987, showcasing a remarkable accomplishment – fixing leakages in the MHR without the daunting task of emptying its massive compartments. This historical perspective challenges the current narrative that insists on draining the reservoir for repairs.

2. Interim Report and Committee Dilemma

As of January 9, an expert committee presented an interim report, dismissing the necessity of demolishing the 137-year-old tank. The committee proposed a 3 to 4-day water supply halt for repairs. The civic officials, however, remain steadfast in their stance that repairs necessitate emptying the five compartments.

3. Civic Baggage: Unraveling the Truth

Bhathena’s discovery adds a new layer to the controversy. He claims that a civic official’s bag left on a local train contains documents outlining past repair strategies, challenging the BMC’s current assertion. If repairs were once accomplished without disrupting water supply, why is it deemed impossible now?

4. Voices of Protest: Residents and Activists Unite

Residents and activists united against the BMC’s plan to demolish and rebuild the reservoir beneath the Hanging Garden. Supplying a substantial 147 million liters per day to South Mumbai, the MHR is a lifeline for the region. The proposed phased reconstruction project faces opposition, questioning the need for such a drastic measure.

In the heart of Mumbai’s historic water legacy, the Malabar Hill Reservoir stands as a testament to engineering achievements of the past. As the expert committee navigates the complex decision-making process, the uncovered document invites us to reconsider the possibilities for preserving this vital piece of the city’s heritage.


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