Restoring the natural flow of the Mithi River

Project Statement

The Mithi River, dubbed so for the once sweet water that coursed through, is a seasonal river, and a confluence of tail-water discharges of the Powai and Vihar lakes in Mumbai. Decades of abuse and encroachments on its flood plains and estuaries killed the river. The construction of retaining walls over the years, most recently for the Metro-3 (Colaba-Bandra-Seepz) at Dharavi, has damaged the river flow capacity, river spread and alignment. Additionally, illegal reclamation of the estuaries, along with industrial effluent and organic waste from slum residences and cattle settlements have been exceedingly detrimental to the health of the river over the years. The 17.84 km river is essentially ‘an open drain’. Less than 5% of the river has been planned for treatment which effectively makes 95% of the river sewage

Project Intervention

Vanashakti intervened in the above concerns and moved the Supreme Court with the intent to establish the constructing of retaining walls in Mithi River as detrimental and injurious. We challenged the Coastal Regulation Zone clearance granted for construction of retaining walls and service road along the banks of Mithi River by Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority.

Project Outcome

On August 16, 2017, the Supreme Court in its verdict ordered the immediate barring of any deepening, widening or blasting operations in the river. It further mandated the establishment of a panel to ensure pollution in the river reduces and its restoration begins soon. The panel constituted the academic authorities of Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) and National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), along with two independent experts. It confirmed the assertions of Vanashakti