1858 Minutes of the Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers  
NO. 989.--" Description of the Works, recently executed, for the Water Supply of Bombay, in the East Indies." By HENRY CONYBEARE, M. Inst. C.E. EVER since t.he establishment of overland communication with Hindostan, Bombay has been characterized in India as the L risingpresidency j' and the population of its capital has, of late years, increased in a more rapid ratio, than that of any other city in the old world. In 1883, the population was onIy 254,000; in 1850, it had increased to 556,000;
more » ... ased to 556,000; and in 1855, it was estimated by the local government at 670,000. This rapid increase in the population, and in the importance of Bombay, is due to the advantages of its geographical position, as the nearest point of contact with Europe (Plate 12, Fig. 1 ) ; and also to the excellence of its harbour-one of the finest in the world-resembling, in its configuration, the harbour of New York. (Plate 12, Fig. 2. ) Its importance and population will be still further increased, in an incalculable. ratio, by the completion of the great trunk lines of railway now in progress, and which converge on the harbour of Bombay, from all points of the interior. Hitherto it has laboured under the grievous disadvantage of being cut off from the productive districts of the interior, by an abrupt mountain chain, presenting towards the coast a mural escarpment 2,000 feet in height, and designated the ghaut, or ' stairs,' from the character of the only tracks by which it was formerly ascended. Though running parallel to the western coast, at an average distance, inland, of only forty miles, this chain forms the water shed of the entire peninsula, and presents a barrier to commerce, that has not hitherto been pierced by a single trunk road, economically practicable throughout for wheeled carriages. The railways now in course of construction will cross this barrier at two points, thus tapping, most effectually, the extensive and productive back country lying beyond, and sweeping all the produce of the interior into the warehouses of Bombay. The lines in progress will, in a few years, connect Bombay with the sister capitals of Madras, Calcutta, and Agra ; with the great cotton districts of Guzerat to the north, of Candeish and Berar to the north-east and east, and of Dharwar to the south-east ; with the coal and grain districts of Goondwana and Central India ; and, eventually, with the line-of the Indus and the Punjaub. The water supply of Bombay had always been as deficient in quantity, as it was bad in quality ; ,and as the population thus Downloaded by [ UNIVERSITY OF IOWA LIBRARIES] on [17/09/16].
doi:10.1680/imotp.1858.23744 fatcat:jrkv25x5lbhgxoruhu3uwgsrlq