After providing clear and natural water for sacred rituals for 89 years, for the first time, the Rustom Faramna Agiary well at Dadar Parsi Colony, has, over the past week seen the well-water recede and has dried up. The Agiary’s Er. Kaizad Karkaria, expressed sadly that this had never happened before.
The area’s Municipal and private engineers have blamed the nearby construction sites, where the ground is being excavated for high-rises. Veteran geotechnical engineer, Shahrokh Bagli, said that such a sudden fall in the waterline indicated heavy ‘dewatering’, or the practice of draining groundwater from a construction site in order to lay pile foundations or build a basement, taking place close by. Keshav Ubale, North Ward Officer, agreed and added that there was no direct proof, and the developers had gotten their building permissions.
Bagli explained that dewatering affects not just the well-water but also nearby structures, especially older buildings with shallower foundations – it’s a widespread concern for the entire island city of Bombay, where tall buildings are sprouting next to older structures. Tunnelling work for the metro also poses a similar risk. The problem arises when builders and engineers callously try to cut costs by not heeding to necessary precautions and avoid using the right techniques. Mancherji Joshi Edulji Residents Association’s Zareen Engineer expressed that this was alarming for the neighbourhood, since many buildings dated back to the 1920s. A number of ten storey-plus buildings, which would require deep foundations, are now under construction in the colony.
In 2005, similarly, the Lalbaug Agiary Kua had run dry when an underground car park was being constructed.