No individual borewell should be permitted to be drilled, says water activist S. Vishwanath
The peripheral areas of cities are seeing an unprecedented growth. Land use is changing from agricultural to non-agriculture use and sites are being developed in ‘layouts’ all across. While infrastructure like roads and electricity can and will eventually reach the layouts, water supply is more difficult.
How can the authority make sure that the people who move into these developments have water in the future? One good way to begin is to get the developer do a yield test for the borewells on site. If this is done in summer it is likely to give a better understanding of reliable yield for the entire layout.
A quality test of the borewell water would also establish potability or otherwise.
This should be basic information with the authority as well as what potential buyers of sites or buildings should demand from the developer. No individual borewell should be permitted to be drilled and only common use of groundwater under metered and tariff conditions should be encouraged in layouts.
While rainwater harvesting is insisted upon by the local planning authorities, a more detailed implementation and design would help both the authority and the consumer. It should be made conditional that all storm-water falling on non-private plot area is completely recharged into the ground. The recharge structures should be site specific and should be based on infiltration and recharge data from each site. Only in case where recharge is not possible should storage and reuse be permitted. In any case, each layout should be designed as a zero run-off area for rainwater .As a matter of choice individual on-plot sanitation systems like septic tanks and baffled reactors with the right design should be permitted. A dual system of grey-water disposal and black-water disposal on plot should be permitted.