When the Ground Water Department came up with a few startling revelations about the plummeting levels in the town last year, few took notice. But when borewells in most apartments and houses in residential colonies started going dry and the city faced acute shortage of water in summer, the Guntur Municipal Corporation (GMC) sat up and took notice.
The GMC is now plumping to tap rainwater in a big way by enforcing the GO M.S. No. 678 issued three years ago by the State government making it mandatory for every household to have rainwater harvesting structures on their premises.
Municipal Commissioner K. Ilambarithi has constituted a task force headed by a retired professor of Plant Pathology Yella Rathaiah to enforce the order. The task force has identified some 100 apartments in the city, in 50 of which there are no percolation tanks. Thanks to the concerted efforts of Dr. Rathaiah, percolation tanks have been installed in 20 apartments in residential areas like Vidya Nagar, Chandramouli Nagar and Navabharat Nagar.
But with many apartments being leased out, the GMC personnel are finding it difficult to enforce the ban as the onus on digging percolation tanks falls on the associations.
“Digging up a percolation tank is easy and cost effective and is found to be the best method to replenish the groundwater levels,” says Dr. Rathaiah.
A typical percolation tank measures 3 inches X 9 inches for independent houses. It could be set up in any open area by lowering pre-cast concrete circles and filling two-thirds of it with large pebbles. The second layer could be filled with chips and last layer with coarse sand. A gap of about six inches should be left on the top.
Rainwater percolating down from roof tops could be collected in the tank through a pipeline. The concrete slab on the pit should have openings so that rainwater percolates directly.
The GMC is keen to enforce the ban and orders have been issued to disconnect tap connections of those houses and apartments that do not install percolation tanks.