KARNATAKA

City fails to harness precious rainwater even amidst crisis

In 2009, the government made it mandatory for all buildings on 30x40-foot sites and above to harvest rainwater, but data shows the compliance rate is only 51.7%.Bhagya Prakash K.Bhagya Prakash K

In 2009, the government made it mandatory for all buildings on 30x40-foot sites and above to harvest rainwater, but data shows the compliance rate is only 51.7%.Bhagya Prakash K.Bhagya Prakash K  

Only half of the 1,39,049 properties are complying with the rule on rainwater harvesting

The city is staring at an acute water crisis that has been exacerbated by drought over the past two years, but is yet to harness the potential of rainwater harvesting.

In 2009, the government made it mandatory for all buildings on 30x40-foot sites and above to harvest rainwater, but data shows the compliance rate is only 51.7%. Of the 1,39,049 properties that are supposed to harvest rainwater as per the rule, just over 72,000 property owners are complying. Lax enforcement of the rules is responsible for this gap.

Last year, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) decided to penalise properties that are not complying.

From July 2016 till May 2017, it collected Rs. 7.69 crore in penalties. But records show that the BWSSB penalised only 11,288 properties during this period.

Kemparamaiah, engineer-in-chief, BWSSB, said that the survey of properties is still on and all those who are not complying will gradually be penalised. However, when asked why meter readers had not penalised residents for lack of compliance, he said that they are busy trying to reach their daily target and cannot monitor rainwater harvesting units. “When we started penalising properties, only around 55,000 properties had RWH.

The number has now increased to just over 72,000, which is good progress in less than a year,” said Kemparamaiah.

However, rainwater harvesting experts working in the field are not buying this defence.

S. Vishwanath of Rain Water Club said that BWSSB should take up RWH on a war footing and set a three-month deadline to achieve 100% compliance.

“We should have carried out such a campaign before the monsoon,” he said adding that penalty alone will not result in compliance. “Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board engineers and meter readers should persuade property owners to adopt RWH,” he said.

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