Dams in tribal belt of Western Ghats for the Mumbai Metropolitan region: unjustified projects – better options exist - draft report

Multiple dams are planned and are under construction on the west flowing rivers near Mumbai for the growing drinking and industrial water needs of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) and the entire Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). In the media and in official MMR discussions, these projects are portrayed as “sources of water for Mumbai”. Most of these projects do not have necessary clearances from the state and the central governments and do not belong to MMR. The affected region is home to thousands of tribals, it provides habitat to ecologically rich forests of Western Ghats and includes protected areas with rich biodiversity. Prior to even considering options leading to submergence of these lands and displacing tribals, Mumbai Metropolitan Region and the concerned authorities need to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Mumbai has exhausted local demand and supply side options, performed proper options assessment, has justified its demands in credible way and has taken all the necessary steps to avoid this huge cumulative impact on tribal settlements, protected areas and forests.