Saving is the need of the hour

With the ever growing population, finite resources of the world are decreasing. And not surprisingly, there is continuous increase in demand of water supply in Delhi too. Water is no longer an abundant resource and we have exploited the ground water to the utmost to meet our demands.

This has resulted in an alarming fall in the ground water levels and now it has become essential to stop this situation from becoming worse. One very effective way of handling the water crisis in the City is to adopt rainwater harvesting as we urgently need to give back to nature what we have taken so brazenly from it.

Rainwater harvesting is nothing but collection, filtration and storage of rain water that runs off from catchments areas like roofs, pavements, roads, parks and open grounds etc. This water can be collected and stored in tanks or can be recharged as ground water.
Rain water falling on roof tops and other areas and where sufficient space is not available for surface storages, is guided into sub-soil water through various techniques. Structures generally used for this purpose are recharge pits, trenches, shafts, bore wells, through existing dug wells, abandoned tube wells, hand pumps or percolation tanks.

To ensure that citizens now participate towards building a better future, “The Delhi government has made it mandatory for newly constructed buildings whose area is above 50 metres to have rainwater harvesting setups, otherwise the floor plan will not be passed,” says Yogender Maan of MCD.

“We already have set up rainwater harvesting systems in various government schools, institutions, community halls, parks and hospitals. The RWAs are also getting to know the benefits of rainwater harvesting and gradually accepting this,” added Yogender. So, is it a costly affair? “Absolutely not, it is not at all costly.”

Delhi has an area of 1483 square km, most of which has been urbanised and receives most of its annual rainfall of 611 mm which is usually spread over 27 days. Due to limited space availability, it is not feasible to construct storage tanks for larger catchments.
Sushmita Sengupta, deputy programme manager, Centre for Science and Environment, said, “It is not impossible at all. For example a colony can have one big rainwater harvesting plant and that water can be used for washing cars and even watering the plants. The Delhi Jal Board (DJB) is doing good work as they are reimbursing the money spent on the plants. They are also giving awards to individuals and registered RWAs are going for this.”

Financial assistance is given to a maximum of 50 per cent of total cost of the water harvesting structures or Rs 1,00,000, whichever is less.

But Sushmita points out the problematic area. “Monitoring is needed in this case. The builders just the show the areas on the maps. Some of them don’t even construct them and even if they construct, do not recharge them. There should be body to check these lapses.”

Recharging ground water through rain water is a long continuous process and it is an investment for our next generation. Beside recharging ground water, rainwater harvesting benefits in several other ways like, improving the quality of ground water, reducing soil erosion as the surface runoff is reduced and choking of storm water drains and flooding of roads during monsoon is minimised. 

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