Commercial buildings that do not comply with rainwater harvesting rules will have their water connections cut

Metrowater has said that commercial buildings that do not comply with rainwater harvesting (RWH) rules by the end of June may be penalised and have their water supply connections disconnected.

To drive home the message of significance of harnessing rainwater, Chennai Metrowater has started issuing notices to commercial buildings that are yet to set up RWH systems across the city.

Of the nearly 13,300 commercial buildings, including hotels, marriage halls and business complexes checked so far for maintenance of RWH structures, the water agency has issued notices to 310 buildings in the last month.

The water agency had launched a drive to check the maintenance of such facilities as part of its month-long campaign to create awareness ahead of the northeast monsoon.

Officials of Metrowater said checks on commercial buildings were prioritised as the structures had optimum space to harvest rainwater. Chennai has about 35,000 multi-storied buildings. Of these, nearly 19,000 buildings have been identified as those used for commercial purposes.

Chennai Metrowater has the authority to disconnect water supply connections till the RWH system is installed as per an amendment to the Tamil Nadu District Municipalities Building Rules, 1972, the official added. The team of officials found that commercial complexes in areas such as Mogappair, Teynampet, T.Nagar and Anna Nagar did not have such structures.

Such strict implementation was necessary to improve the groundwater table in the city, which is largely dependent on water bodies, groundwater sources and desalination plants to meet its growing water needs. “Chennai has over 6.25 lakh buildings including in added areas. We also conducted a random check on nearly 34,000 individual buildings and residential complexes,” said the official.

The team of officials found that some buildings had not desilted the structures or had damaged RWH facilities. The owners of the about 1,300 such residential buildings were advised to maintain their structures properly, sources said.

As part of the ongoing checks, the team will issue compliant buildings with stickers to be displayed prominently. Besides awareness rallies in all zones, State ministers, Chennai Metrowater’s managing director B. Chandra Mohan, Metrowater staff members and Chennai Corporation councillors participated in a rally on Marina beach on Friday. Pamphlets on methods to maintain RWH facilities were also distributed.