Citizens thumb nose at rainwater harvesting rule

Citizens thumb nose at rainwater harvesting rule

As Bangalore reels under severe water shortage, the ambitious plan of Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board  (BWSSB) to ensure that houses in City adopt Rain Water Harvesting (RWH) seems to have fizzled out.

Even though the government made it compulsory in 2011 for all buildings above 2,400 sq ft and buildings to be constructed above 1,200 sq ft to have a rain water harvesting system, few Bangaloreans are taking this initiative seriously and many continue to flout the norms.

BWSSB Public Relations Officer Sarala Kumari said roughly 50,000 of property owners had complied with the directive. However, she admitted that BWSSB did not have enough staff to ensure if that had been indeed complied with.

While a legislation on RWH was enacted in August 2009, the deadline for installing the systems was set at May 2010. The Board had warned of disconnecting water supply to the property owners who do not fall in line.

The deadline was extended at regular intervals and the latest one was in March 2012. About 55,000 properties were identified and given notice to install rainwater harvesting plant before the deadline.  After that, there has not been any revision in the schedule or information. Questioned about compliance checks, a BWSSB official said attempts were made through monthly checks by meter readers.

However, it is pretty evident that BWSSB has washed its hands off the whole idea, as the official said Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) are in charge of further expanding the scope of rainwater harvesting project as the infrastructure for it belonged to them.

As summer woes increase and even tankers are unable to meet the water demand, people who have set up rainwater harvesting system at their properties have benefitted greatly. Karthik Sridhar, a resident of Indiranagar said “I had to put rainwater harvesting system in my house because it was recently constructed and was above 1,200 sq ft. It has proved to be a good decision. Our water bill is a lot less than what it was before. We use the water collected to water plants, wash clothes and cars and so on. I was hesitant about it at first but now I’m glad I have it.”

Bangalore has an annual average rainfall of about 1,000 mm. It has been estimated that 2.23 lakh litres of water can be collected annually from rooftop of 40’x60’ house with 1,000 mm rainfall which is more than sufficient for a family of four, annually.

Shortage of water in City would be a thing of the past with strict enforcement of rainwater harvesting as the amount of rainfall received is adequate enough to hydrate the City. 

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